Taiwan counters China’s latest coercive tactics, aggression
Taiwan is working to bolster its defenses in light of China’s latest rash of aggressive activities.
In mid-May 2018, Taiwan Defense Minister Yen De-fa announced it will accelerate production of more than 10 Tuo Chiang-class missile corvettes as part of its new plan to stay in step with China’s People’s Liberation Army’s capabilities, according to a report on thedrive.com website, published by Time Inc. Eight of the stealthy missile-carrying catamarans would be operational in 2025, with another three in service by 2039. A prototype Tuo Chiang, built by the Lung Teh Shipyard, is already in service, thedrive.com reported.
“The corvette is a crucial piece of the military’s asymmetric warfare,” Yen told Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, The Taipei Times newspaper reported.
Taiwan media have called the corvettes “carrier killers” because they may help Taiwan counter China’s expanding fleet of aircraft carriers.
In recent months, China has continued to project its military might in the region by increasing air force training flights near Taiwan and naval activity in the South and East China seas. In April 2018, for example, its People’s Liberation Army Navy held a large exercise in the Taiwan Strait that involved China’s first aircraft carrier Liaoning. (Pictured: In this May 11, 2018, photo released by Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, a Taiwan Air Force Indigenous Defense Force fighter aircraft, right, flies near a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force TU-154 aircraft that reportedly flew over the Luzon Strait south of Taiwan during a recent exercise.)
In addition, the Chinese Communist Party has been challenging Taiwan’s self-rule internationally. It has sought to isolate Taiwan by preventing it from participating in international forums and by pressuring nations in the Caribbean and Latin America to break off diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China.
The Chinese government has also attempted to get international companies to adopt its position on Taiwan on their websites and apps. For example, Chinese authorities recently demanded in writing from more than 30 international airlines, including some U.S. carriers, that they delete any information on their websites that implies that Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau are not part of China, according to various media accounts.
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters in mid-May 2018 that China’s attempts to pressure companies such as Gap and Air Canada to change how they refer to Taiwan was “rather unfortunate in terms of cross-strait relations” and would drive residents “further and further away” rather than winning over “hearts and minds,” The Associated Press reported.
The U.S. administration called such demands “Orwellian nonsense,” and said they were “part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies,” The New York Times newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, Taiwan and the U.S. continue to strengthen cooperation on security.