The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China will be capable of a “full-scale invasion” of Taiwan by 2025, Taiwan’s defense minister warned on Wednesday.
Taiwan’s defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, stated that the PLA now has the capability to invade Taiwan, which the US has pledged to “assist” in defending.
However, Chiu told the Legislative Yuan’s foreign affairs, defense, and finance committee that China will be able to limit the cost of a “full-scale invasion” to itself by 2025.
He called the current situation across the Taiwan Strait “the grimmest I have seen in over 40 years of military service.”
Taiwan’s defense ministry stated that it is investing in weaponry capable of “long-range strikes,” with a defensive focus, in order to create heavy-duty deterrence.
Taiwan’s military budget proposals, which include an $8.57 billion upgrade for the country’s navy and air force, were reviewed by the Legislative Yuan session.
64 percent of the budget will be spent on domestically produced anti-ship weapons, with slightly more than half of that amount going toward the accelerated development and procurement of the Hsiung Feng anti-ship missile system.
“The [ministry’s] plan to strengthen Taiwan’s sea and air defenses is likely a response to increased provocations, including recent Chinese activities within Taiwan’s territorial waters and incursions into its air defense identification zone (ADIZ),” according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.
In the first five days of October, the PLA flew 150 aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with 56 planes making incursions on Oct. 4 alone, the highest recorded number in a single day.
Chiu told the meeting that the incursions have increased the psychological pressure on Taiwanese pilots who must respond, though Taiwan will not fire first.
The United States warned on Monday that the incursions were destabilizing and risked “miscalculations,” urging Beijing to end its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure on Taiwan.
On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden said he discussed the issue with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
“I talked to Xi about Taiwan,” Biden said. “We agree…we will follow through on the Taiwan agreement.”
The Taiwanese Presidential Office said in a statement that Washington has confirmed to Taipei that its policy toward Taiwan remains unchanged, though it was unclear to what agreement Biden was referring.
Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s president, has warned of “catastrophic consequences” if China invades Taiwan.
Tsai warned in an op-ed piece published in Foreign Affairs on October 5 that “if Taiwan were to fall, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the democratic alliance system.”
“It would signal that authoritarianism has the upper hand over democracy in today’s global values contest,” she said, adding that Taiwan is on the front lines of a global struggle between liberal democracy and authoritarianism.
She stated that Taiwan is committed to modernizing and reorganizing its military, including the deployment of mobile land-based antiship cruise missiles, and that in 2022, an all-out training and recruitment drive for a military reserve will begin.
“Such initiatives are intended to maximize Taiwan’s self-reliance and preparedness, as well as to signal that we are willing to shoulder our fair share of the burden and do not take our security partners’ support for granted,” Tsai wrote.
“Taiwan is not looking for a military confrontation… However, if its democracy and way of life are threatened, [it] will go to any length to defend itself “She stated.