‘Flames of war’ – China relations at breaking point with Taiwan in the South China Sea

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China has looked to increase its territory in the region and has stated Taiwan will eventually be reclaimed by Beijing. In light of China’s aggressive stance in the region, Taiwan has warned Beijing not to underestimate its military strength. To show its military arsenal, Taiwan’s defence ministry filmed a video showcasing a live-fire drill.

The ministry also issued a further response to Beijing by claiming China’s “arrogance” may force Taiwan to act.

The ministry said: “Absolutely do not treat lightly our resolve to defend Taiwan.

“The most arrogant country can easily provoke a war, and the most ignorant government can be caught in the flames of war.

“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.”

The ministry also warned any further threats from China will only go further in strengthening the country’s resolve against Beijing.

In the video, Taiwan shows a wide range of military equipment including F-16 fighter jets.

Last year, Taiwan agreed a deal for 66 of the F-16 jets from the US.

The deal was worth $8billion (£6.1billion) and was a further sign of Donald Trump’s commitment to maintaining the defence treaty between the two countries.

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In a further move aimed at bolstering Taiwan’s military strength, the US also approved a deal worth £492.5million.

This is package will be an upgrade package for the Patriot surface-to-air missiles.

The deal came into effect last month and is the seventh such agreement made between Taiwan and Mr Trump’s administration.

Upon the confirmation of the deal, Taiwan claimed it will go far in showing the importance for its national defence strategy against China.

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The ministry said: “This arms sale is the seventh by the Trump administration to Taiwan so far, fully demonstrating the importance attached to our national defence-security, consolidating our security partnership with the US, and jointly maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region.”

Several Chinese jets have flown across the integral Taiwan Strait this year.

Local media on the island have stated there have been at least 20 airspace violations.

This, combined with a build of ships from the People’s Liberation Army, has raised concerns Beijing will soon be ready to reclaim the island.

Tensions were further heightened after US Health Secretary visited the island earlier this month.

In a ground-breaking move, China warned the US against the visit by insisting it threatened peace and stability in the region.

Enoch Wu, a Taiwanese political activist and former staffer on Taiwan’s National Security Council, told Al Jazeera: “Certainly the number of exercises is quite high this year, but I think we should see it as part of a longer-term trend.

“Every year, China has been steadily increasing and escalating its military activities, so from where I sit, I see that as part of a longer-term pattern that’s probably going to intensify.

“There is a public expectation here that China will continue to ramp up pressure, and there’s a lot more they can do, and will do, before an invasion will happen.”

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