Taipei, July 23 (IANS) Without continuing US military support, Taiwan would be vulnerable to an armed takeover from Beijing, the island’s Foreign Minister has said.
Joseph Wu told CNN the Taiwan government felt relations with the US had grown stronger in recent years, but it was vital for Washington to continue to support Taipei militarily and diplomatically.
“(If) the Chinese see the vulnerability of Taiwan, not getting US support, then they would be thinking about starting scenarios where they would be able to take Taiwan over,” he said in an interview which was published on Monday.
Despite Taiwan being self-governed for almost 70 years, Beijing continues to view the island as an integral part of its territory.
Beijing has been ramping up pressure on the Taiwan government since President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party, which traditionally favoured independence, took power in 2016.
The Chinese Navy has been conducting the latest in a series of live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Strait from Wednesday until Monday, which an expert quoted in state media tabloid Global Times said was “tailored for Taiwan separatists”.
Wu said the live-fire drills were part of a campaign to “intimidate the Taiwanese people”.
Beijing has long dreamed of reuniting Taiwan with the Chinese mainland. But Wu said China’s actions against Taiwan were undermining any support for reunification efforts and turning public opinion against Beijing.
Early in the Trump administration there were questions over whether Taiwan would be used as a pawn between Washington and Beijing, given the latter’s keen interest in returning the island to the fold, CNN said on Monday.