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China could start Taiwan Strait conflict to avoid domestic crisis: Foreign minister

Joseph Wu says Taiwan will strengthen self-defense capabilities whether China attacks or not

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Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs photo)

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China could intentionally cause a situation in the Taiwan Strait to divert attention away from domestic issues, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) says.

Wu said in a Feb. 17 interview with ITV News' Asia correspondent Debi Edward that if China's economy becomes stagnant, oppressed ethnic minorities become increasingly discontent, or an internal crisis occurs, China may stir up conflict in the strait as a distraction, the Liberty Times reported. Regardless of whether a conflict occurs, Taiwan will continue to strengthen its self-defense capabilities and fully defend its territorial sovereignty and democratic way of life, he added.

The foreign minister pointed out that as China is currently hosting the Winter Olympics, it may not launch an attack for the time being so as not to undermine its efforts at “claiming its national glory.” However, it can be seen from its nearly 1,000 sorties into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in 2021 that China's intention to invade Taiwan has never gone away.

Wu said Taiwan has been extremely concerned about the situation in Hong Kong since Beijing passed the National Security Law in 2020. He remarked that Hong Kong’s vanishing democracy, freedom, and human rights prove that “one country, two systems” is a lie.

Taiwan is a sovereign country, and China's autocratic regime has never ruled it for a single day, he said, adding that the country is at the forefront of democracy’s fight against authoritarianism. Wu said Taiwan is happy to see its democratic partners placing great importance on peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and that he welcomes freedom of navigation in the strait and the East and South China Seas.