Taiwan says no unusual Chinese military activity ahead of President Tsai’s U.S. visit

121
President Tsai

27th March 2023 – (Taipei) Taiwan’s deputy defence minister Po Horng-huei stated on Monday that there were no signs of any unusual military activity by China’s military ahead of President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to the United States and Central America this week. Po said that China typically operates three to four warships around Taiwan every day, which has become a “new normal.” He added that if there were any changes in China’s military deployment, Taiwan must be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

China views Taiwan as its own territory, and this has led to tensions between the two nations. Last August, following a trip to Taipei by then US-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, China staged war games around Taiwan. However, there have been no signs of any such activity this time around, according to Po.

President Tsai is set to leave for New York on Wednesday, where she will make a stopover on her way to Guatemala and Belize. On her way back to Taiwan, she will transit through Los Angeles, where she is expected to meet current House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The visit is seen as an important one for Taiwan, as it seeks to strengthen its diplomatic relations with the US.

Despite the absence of any unusual military activity by China, Taiwan remains cautious. The island nation has long been wary of China’s intentions and has sought to bolster its defence capabilities in recent years. In January, Taiwan’s President Tsai announced a US$15.4 billion defence budget, which represents a 10% increase from the previous year.

Taiwan has also been seeking to deepen its military ties with the US. Last year, the US approved a US$2.2 billion arms sale to Taiwan, which included 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger missiles. This move was criticised by China, which saw it as an interference in its internal affairs.