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Taiwan Aims At Defensive Deterrence, Not War With China


Taiwan is not seeking war with Beijing, instead building a defensive, multi-level deterrence strategy to make it harder for China to capture the island, says Taiwanese Defence Minister Wellington Koo.

Taiwan’s Strategy

Taiwan, a democratically governed island, faces increasing military and political pressure from China, which views it as its territory. Taiwan rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims. President Lai Ching-te has emphasised that China considers the annexation and elimination of Taiwan its great national cause. He has urged military cadets to reject defeatism, specifically the theory that Taiwan would collapse immediately upon a Chinese attack.

Asked how long Taiwan could hold out without US support in the event of a Chinese attack, Koo stated that Taiwan’s strategy focuses on asymmetric warfare. This approach aims at building multi-domain deterrence and weaken China’s ability to invade. Taiwan’s military reforms include making its forces more mobile and harder to attack, using vehicle-mounted missiles and drones.

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Tensions With China

China accuses Lai of being a “dangerous separatist” who risks conflict by advocating Taiwan’s independence. Lai, however, insists that only the Taiwanese people can decide their future and has repeatedly offered talks with Beijing, which have been rebuffed. Koo accused China of being the “troublemaker” and the provoker of tensions in the Taiwan Strait. “We have never sought war. We are very clear that our entire strategy is defensive operations,” Koo added.

US Position On Taiwan

US President Joe Biden has made comments suggesting the United States would defend Taiwan if attacked, deviating from the long-held US policy of “strategic ambiguity”. Koo noted that the purpose of this ambiguity is to complicate China’s invasion plans. “They will never be able to rule out the possibility of a US military intervention,” he said.

With inputs from Reuters