‘China does not need to use force’
Putin on Taiwan; Taipei won’t start a war with China, defence minister says
MOSCOW, Oct 14: China "does not need to use force" in order to achieve its desired "reunification" with Taiwan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.
Speaking to CNBC's Hadley Gamble at the Russian Energy Week conference in Moscow Wednesday, Putin pointed to Xi's comments suggesting the possibility of a peaceful unification, and China's "philosophy of statehood," to suggest that there is no threat of military confrontation.
"I think China does not need to use force. China is a huge powerful economy, and in terms of purchasing parity, China is the economy number one in the world ahead of the United States now," the Russian president said, according to a translation. "By increasing this economic potential, China is capable of implementing its national objectives. I do not see any threats."
Chinese President Xi Jinping last week vowed to realize his aim of bringing the democratically run island nation of 24 million people under Beijing's control by peaceful means, following a week of simmering tensions in the region.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, while Taiwan sees itself as separate from China, having ruled itself since splitting from the mainland in 1949 following a protracted civil war. Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen responded in a speech Sunday, announcing that her government would invest in bolstering its military capabilities in order to "demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves."
Separately, Taiwan will not start a war with China but will defend itself "full on", Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said on Thursday, amid a spike in tensions across the Taiwan Strait that has raised concern internationally. Taiwan, a major semiconductor producer, has repeatedly said it will defend itself if attacked, but that it will not "advance rashly" and wants to maintain the status quo with China.
"What is clearest is that the Republic of China absolutely will not start or set off a war, but if there are movements we will meet the enemy full on," Chiu told a parliament committee meeting, using Taiwan's official name.
Military tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, are at their worst in more than 40 years, Chiu said last week, adding that China will be capable of mounting a "full-scale" invasion by 2025.
He was speaking after China mounted four consecutive days of mass air force incursions into Taiwan's air defence identification zone that began on Oct. 1, part of a pattern of what Taipei views as stepped-up military harassment by Beijing. -REUTERS