Taiwan’s foreign minister has said he believes China is now “more likely” to attack Taiwan to distract leader Xi Jinping from domestic problems.
Speaking exclusively to Sky News in his first sit-in interview of the year, Joseph Wu set 2027 as the most likely date for such action.
His words come at a time when tensions in the Taiwan Strait are the highest they have been with China in years. Flying fighter jets to Taiwan airspace on a daily basis.
Mr Wu also said the current “status quo” arrangement, in which Taiwan is sovereign but does not formally declare independence, “may not last forever”, in a rare acknowledgment that the island will one day either be annexed by China or become an independent country.
Taiwan is a democratic, independent island that China claims as its own.
Although it was never controlled by the ruling Communist Party, bringing Taiwan under Chinese control has been described by President Xi Jinping as “core to China’s core interests”.
Mr Wu admitted that “the situation last year is much worse than the previous two years”, but said: “To me, 2027 is the year we need to keep an eye on.”
“In 2027, Xi Jinping is likely to go into his fourth term, and, if he cannot claim any achievements during his previous three terms in office, to claim them as his achievement or his legacy. Will have to think of something else.
“If you look at the situation in China right now, the economy is going down, people are not happy, the real estate business seems to be melting down.
“If Xi Jinping can’t change the situation domestically in China, you might want to resort to the use of force or create a crisis externally to divert domestic attention or make the Chinese Will want to show that he has achieved something.
“We are concerned that Taiwan could become its scapegoat.”
‘A small accident can lead to a big war’
Chinese fighter jets are now flying into Taiwan’s airspace and crossing the so-called ‘median line’, the unofficial maritime border, on a daily basis.
This number has increased fivefold between 2020 and 2022 with the highest daily number recorded just three weeks ago.
Mr Wu said the “worst-case scenario” was now “more likely” than in previous years, and outlined how dangerous the situation could be.
He said that look at the proximity of the Chinese planes to our plane.
“If they cross the 24-nautical-mile zone, some of our weapon systems may have to target those Chinese planes, and that could cause an accident, even though it’s illegal for Chinese pilots to cross 24 nautical miles. May not be intentional.
“Often, you see that a small accident can lead to a big war.
“We fear that may happen.”
The only thing stopping this sudden surge now, he added, is “selfishness”.
“Our pilots are very trained; they know they can’t fire the first shot,” Mr Wu said.
Is Taiwan ready for war against China?
There have been suggestions from military experts that Taiwan is not sufficiently prepared if war comes to the island.
Taiwan spends just 2.4 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, less than countries like the United States and half of what Israel spends.
According to the analysis, it also does not have enough weapons, is struggling to meet recruitment quotas within the armed forces and has the kind of asymmetric capabilities it would need to go to war with China. , has not paid enough attention to it.
The foreign minister rejected the idea that Taiwan was complacent, but acknowledged that its preparations were already slow.
“We think that in previous years, we didn’t get enough ammunition,” he said.
“In the past years, we may not have enough training for our military personnel. And in the past years, we believe that our troops may not be enough to defend Taiwan, but look at the reform measures announced by the president. “
Taiwan recently Extension of compulsory military service From four months to a year, increased the defense budget and is looking to start domestic production of drones and missiles.
“We are doing everything we can to prepare Taiwan, to make Taiwan able to defend itself,” Mr. Wu said.
Although he insisted that Taiwan would be open to dialogue with China, he was clear that it “does not welcome political preconditions”.
“Accepting these Chinese preconditions means that we are giving in to China, and that is something that the Taiwanese people here will never accept, but our doors are open,” he said.
for more News Click here