Taiwan to Boost Defenses as Xi’s Third Term Nears

Taiwan is set to bolster its defenses to be ready for a possible war with China as Xi is poised for a historic third presidential term later this month. Xi has made no secret his desire to take Taiwan and make it a part of PR China, peacefully if possible but with force if needed, to write his name in the history books. China had intensified its military drills around the island in August in response to U.S. House Speaker Pelosi’s visit, pushing the tensions to their highest in decades.

Taiwanese President Tsai said during her national day speech that war was “absolutely not an option”, as a message to the Communist Party Congress set to start on Oct. 16, where Xi is widely expected to win a historic third term.

She also outlined steps to boost the military, including mass production of precision missiles and warships.

“Through our actions, we are sending a message to the international community that Taiwan will take responsibility for our own self-defense, that we will not leave anything to fate,” she added.

While Taiwan’s people show no signs of panic at Beijing’s threats, the government officials have been on high alert.

Modernizing Taiwan’s armed forces is a major priority for Tsai, who wants to develop the island’s asymmetric warfare capabilities with small and highly mobile precision weapons such as anti-ship missiles that can be launched from the back of a truck and moved to safety after firing.

Since he came to power, Xi has showed he has ditched late reformist leader Deng’s policy of “hiding your strength and biding your time”. He has tried to transform China into a global power and attained goals not achieved by his predecessors, including by bringing Hong Kong to heel.

As Xi tries to exert China’s influence in the region, Taiwan expects the next fie years will be more intense in term of cross-strait relations.

Any war could devastate the global economy, given Taiwan’s key role as a semiconductor producer, and potentially drag in the United States, as Biden pledged to defend Taiwan in the event of an unprecedented attack by China.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office last month reiterated Beijing’s aim to achieve peaceful “reunification” under the “one country, two systems” model used for Hong Kong, which has been widely rejected by Taiwan.

Despite Tsai’s repeated offers to talk on the basis of equality and mutual respect, China has refused to speak to her, on the basis of Tsai being a “separatist”. Xi had met with then-Taiwan President Ma in Singapore in 2015, the first such get together since the Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949.

China has not come up with a timetable for “resolving the Taiwan issue” as Chinese officials term it, but Xi said in his first year as president in 2013 that a political solution could not wait forever

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