I received a message of concern from my father. He said something like “I’m worried about news about Taiwan and China”, and I had no clue what was going on. Then I called him and he told me that Taiwan’s president was asking for international help after China told its troops to get ready. Well, apparently the war hasn’t started yet (phew :P) but Tsai did say something:
Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen has made a fresh call for international support in the face of aggressive signals from China. Ms Tsai, in a rare briefing with foreign media, said given the “worst-case scenario of China using force”, Taiwan was speeding up development of its military and signalled hope for more foreign assistance. “We are working hard to do everything to help ourselves to improve our defence capabilities but at the same time we still hope other countries that attach great importance to democracy and value Taiwan will be able to work together with us,” Ms Tsai said. The call came after Xi Jinping, reiterated the Chinese Communist party’s long-term aim of unification with Taiwan. Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its territory, stopped official communication with Taipei after Ms Tsai and the pro self-rule Democratic Progressive party took office in 2016. It has since ramped-up pressure on Taiwan via military activity in Taiwan-controlled territory as well diplomatic and economic measures. Analysts say that with the power to rule China for life, Mr Xi could be considering making the eventual unification of China and Taiwan a hallmark of his presidency with a more nationalist approach. Ms Tsai’s government has sought to build up Taiwan’s defence industry but military experts said internationally made weapons and technology were still needed, although such sales faced opposition from Beijing. China in September protested against a $330m US arms sale to Taiwan, saying it would damage US-China relations. Beijing has worked to block other countries from selling weapons and defence systems to Taiwan. China has used political pressure “to compromise the transfer of technology or sale of such sensitive technology to Taiwan, either from the European community or from other countries,” said Andrew Yang, a former Taiwan defence minister. Ms Tsai warned of a rise in disinformation campaigns — which have allegedly been linked to China — and urged greater co-operation among democracies in response to the threats posed by Beijing. “If the international community does not step in and help Taiwan now, when the next country suffers the same thing then who is going to speak up for them?”, she said. Despite the US under president Donald Trump showing greater support for Taiwan, experts expect China to increase pressure on Taipei. Elizabeth Freund Larus, a Taiwan expert at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, said China would probably seek to capitalise on a series of DPP losses in local elections in November to sow discontent among Taiwanese and boost support for the China-friendly opposition party, the Kuomintang, ahead of the 2020 presidential election. “China’s leaders are like sharks in the water: they smell blood,” she said.