China should not underestimate Taiwan’s determination to defend itself, and military threats will only cause Taiwan’s people to be even more resolute, the island’s defence ministry said in a new video responding to repeated Chinese threats.
China has stepped up military activity around the island, where the losing nationalists set up their government at the end of the civil war in 1949, sending fighter jets and warships on exercises close to Taiwan. Communist-ruled China claims the island as its own and has not ruled out the use of force to assert its control.
Taiwan’s defence ministry, in a statement late on Thursday to accompany a video showing Taiwanese forces taking part in drills, said it was “expressing its stern attitude about recent Chinese Communist People’s Liberation Army military pressure acts”.
Taiwan will not provoke, but it will also not show weakness, it added.
“Absolutely do not treat lightly our resolve to defend Taiwan,” the ministry said.
“The most arrogant country can easily provoke a war, and the most ignorant government can be caught in the flames of war.”
China’s provocations and threats will only further unite Taiwan’s people and “recognise the essence of the Chinese Communist’s militarism”, the defence ministry said.
“In the end it will have the opposite effect, inciting the wrath and antipathy of Taiwan’s people, seriously hurting peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. (@MoNDefense) August 20, 2020
The slickly-produced video, also released on the ministry’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, shows Taiwan’s F-16s screaming into the air, missiles being fired from land and at sea, and soldiers on manoeuvres.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen is overseeing a military modernisation programme, though Taiwan’s forces are dwarfed by China’s, which now have advanced equipment including stealth fighters and aircraft carriers.
The United States, Taiwan’s main arms supplier, has ramped up support for the island. Last year, the US Department of State approved arms sales worth $10bn for Taiwan.