World

China war a catastrophe, regardless of the outcome

TAIPEI — A conflict with China threatening to invade Taiwan would be a disaster for all sides regardless of the outcome, the island’s defense minister said on Thursday.

China has largely backed Russia in invading Ukraine, a conflict echoed in Beijing’s crackdown on Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy that claims it as Chinese territory to be annexed by force if necessary.

“Nobody wants a war,” Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told reporters. “You really have to think hard about it.”

“If you really went to war, it would be disastrous for everyone,” Chiu said. He said Taiwan’s Defense Institute “is watching and listening, but we’re keeping our mouths shut. We are following developments and preparing, but we do not openly discuss or debate.”

At the annual meetings of China’s parliamentary legislature, National People’s Congress and its advisory body this week in Beijing, delegates slammed what they called foreign influence and separatism in Taiwan, while bolstering China’s legal and financial power to counter support for Taiwan.

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On Wednesday, a spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army delegation to the NPC said, “Separatist activities and collusion with outside forces are the main cause of the current tension and unrest in the Taiwan Strait.”

Blaming Taiwan’s ruling pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, Colonel Wu Qian added, “The more the United States and Japan make waves on the Taiwan issue, the harder we will take action to uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” “

Wu also defended an increase in the defense budget, saying China has “maintained reasonable and steady growth to address complex security challenges and fulfill China’s responsibilities as a major country.”

Separately, a member of the advisory body of China’s ceremonial legislature proposed strengthening a 2005 secession law that spells out the grounds for an attack on Taiwan. Zhang Liangqi said new laws were needed to attack those promoting Taiwan’s formal and enduring independence from China, from which it seceded during a civil war in 1949.

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As a warning to Taiwan independence supporters and its foreign allies, China has conducted threat drills and flown military planes near the island’s airspace, including on February 24, the day Russia began invading Ukraine.

Despite this, Chinese officials, including leader Xi Jinping, say they are determined to use peaceful means to bring Taiwan under Beijing’s control. The US has consistently expressed support for ensuring Taiwan can defend itself, and short- to medium-term Chinese military action against the island is generally viewed as a remote possibility.

But the Russian experience in Ukraine is being closely scrutinized by Beijing to learn lessons about the power of the local resistance, the international community’s response and other factors, said Justyna Sczcudlik, a China analyst with the Polish Institute of International Affairs.

“I think this war between Ukraine and Russia is definitely a lesson for China on Taiwan, and Ukraine is perceived as a European ‘Taiwan issue’ to some extent,” Sczcudlik said.

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“There are many differences, but I think China is really looking at this war through the prism of the Taiwan issue,” she said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/03/10/taiwan-minister-china-war-a-disaster-regardless-of-outcome/ China war a catastrophe, regardless of the outcome

Jaclyn Diaz

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