China-Taiwan military tensions ‘worst in 40 years’

Tensions with China are at their worst in 40 years, Taiwan’s defence minister has said, warning of the risk of an accidental strike between the two.

Chiu Kuo-cheng’s comments came after China sent a “record number of military jets into Taiwan’s air defence zone for four consecutive days.

Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state. China, however, view Taiwan as a breakaway province.

It has not ruled out the possible use of force to achieve unification.

While Chinese jets have not been flown all the way to the island, Chiu warned that there was a risk of a “misfire”.

He also warned China would be capable of mounting a full-scale invasion of the island by 2025.

He was speaking committee in Taipei considered a multi-billion-dollar defence spending bill to build missiles and warships.

Acknowledging that China already has the capacity to invade, Chiu said such a move would get easier in coming years, though he did not elaborate.

Taiwan broke away from the mainland as communists seized power in 1949.

Analysts have warned that Beijing is becoming increasingly concerned that Taiwan’s government is moving the island towards a formal declaration of independence and wants to deter its President Tsai Ing-wen from taking any steps in that direction.

Some Western allies of Taiwan have expressed concern at China’s open display of military might recently.

However, US President Joe Biden said his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had agreed to abide by the “Taiwan agreement”.

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