Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng issued a warning on Monday in Tapei, Taiwan, that the island must be on high alert this year for a “sudden entry” by the Chinese military into areas close to its territory due to the rising military tensions across the Taiwan Strait.


Recent years have seen a rise in China’s military presence around Taiwan, with almost daily incursions by the Air Force into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

No incidents involving Chinese forces entering Taiwan’s contiguous zone of 24 nautical miles (44.4 km) from its coastline have been reported as of yet. It has, however, shot down a civilian drone that had strayed into its airspace near an islet off the Chinese coast.

In response to questions from parliamentarians, Chiu warned that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could use Taiwan’s increased military ties with the United States as an excuse to enter air and sea space claimed by Taiwan.

The island of Taiwan defines its territorial space as extending out to sea a distance of 12 nautical miles, and he warned that the PLA could make a “sudden entry” into this area.

They are making such preparations this year because (I) specifically make these comments this year,” Chiu said. “In the future, they would resort to violence if they felt it was necessary.”

If Chinese military forces ever invade Taiwan, the island nation has vowed to defend itself by any means necessary, including launching a counterattack.

To counter US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last year, China conducted unprecedented military exercises in the region.

According to Chiu, China wants to “make trouble under a certain pretext,” which he speculated could be senior government officials from other countries visiting Taiwan or Taiwan’s frequent military contacts with other countries.
There are about ten PLA planes or ships sent to waters around Taiwan every day, he said. He also noted that some of them routinely crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, which serves as an unofficial buffer.
According to Chiu, Taiwan is ready to “fire the first shot” if any Chinese entities, including drones or balloons, enter its territorial space, as China has destroyed a tacit agreement on military movements in the Strait.
China considers self-ruled Taiwan to be part of its territory and has not renounced the use of force to subjugate the island. Taiwan categorically denies China’s claims of sovereignty and asserts that the island’s future is a matter for its people alone to decide.