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Taiwan will fight back if China crosses red line: Defense minister

Chiu says China 'deliberately destroyed' tacit agreement on median line to establish new normal

(Facebook, ROCMarineCorp photo)

(Facebook, ROCMarineCorp photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's defense minister on Wednesday (Oct. 5) said that China has already destroyed the median line, but if it crosses Taiwan's red line on the east side of the strait, Taiwan will definitely counter-attack.

In early August, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) set up six live-fire zones for military exercises in the waters surrounding Taiwan and fired 11 Dongfeng ballistic missiles into some of these areas. After the exercises were completed, the PLA ramped up its intrusions into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and crossed the median line on multiple occasions.

During a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee in the Legislative Yuan on Wednesday (Oct. 5), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) asked Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) if the median line still exists. Chiu responded by saying that the median line in the Taiwan Strait was originally a tacit agreement, but "this tacit agreement has already been destroyed by it (China)," and it will be difficult to restore it to its previous state.

However, Chiu said that Taiwan's armed forces also have patrol areas and training zones east of the median line, which has not changed. Chiu said that the military will stand firm and not give in and that it has a red line.

He said that if that red line is crossed, the armed forces will "definitely fight back." Lo then asked whether the concept of "first strike" is not just limited to the enemy launching artillery shells, but also includes the enemy entering Taiwan's airspace with fighter jets. Chiu simply responded by saying, "Yes, that's right."

As for his assessment of the difference between PLA military strength in the past compared to its strength during post-August military exercises, Chiu said that the only differences are the increase in strength and the demonstration of many "firsts," such as the "first joint operation," "the first time to get so close to Taiwan," "the first time to form a siege."

The defense minister said that the purpose was to make Taiwan feel pressure and the intensity, quantity, and frequency of military activity were increasing.

Lo then asked whether the Ministry of National Defense agreed with the interpretation of the PLA's military exercise as a "quasi-blockade" of Taiwan. Chiu pointed out that these exercises are all in preparation for combat.

He said that a blockade is a stage, and it depends on how the CCP will proceed in the future, but as long as there is such an action, it is a blockade. The minister said that the CCP really wants to change the status quo and establish a new normal, and some aspects have changed and cannot be restored to their past state.