China says war could be ‘triggered at any time’ in chilling warning to the West over Taiwan tensions
CHINA has said war could be triggered "at any time" in a chilling warning to the West over rising tensions in Taiwan.
Beijing launched into a tirade against the US and its allies after 56 Chinese warplanes crossed into Taiwan's air defence zone on Monday.
Chinese state-run paper The Global Times said the "peaceful atmosphere" on the island had all but disappeared and that pressure from the West had resulted in a "sense of urgency that the war may be triggered at any time".
Tensions between Taipei and Beijing hit a new high yesterday when its leaders urged China to stop "irresponsible provocative actions".
Taiwan's defence ministry scrambled aircraft to broadcast warnings after 36 fighter jets, 12 H-6 nuclear-capable bombers and four other planes entered its southwest air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
Four more fighters entered the zone at night, bringing the total to 56 planes, the ministry said.
The US State Department accused China of carrying out "provocative military activities" that "undermines regional peace and stability", adding its commitment to Taiwan was "rock solid".
'TEETERING ON THE EDGE'
China hit back in a scathing Global Times piece, saying its display yesterday was a "severe warning" to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which it accused of trying to succeed from the mainland.
"The strategic collusion between the US and Japan and the DPP authorities is becoming more audacious, and the situation across the Taiwan Straits has almost lost any room for manoeuvre teetering on the edge of a face-off, creating a sense of urgency that the war may be triggered at any time," it said.
It said the "secessionist forces" on the island would "never be allowed to secede Taiwan from China under whatever names or by whatever means".
The paper claimed that "mainstream public opinion" in China was that the country should prepare for all-out war with the US.
"Now, we will like to warn the DPP authorities and their supporters: do not continue to play with fire.
"They should see that the Chinese mainland’s preparation to use force against Taiwan secessionist forces is much stronger than ever before.
"If the US and the DPP authorities do not take the initiative to reverse the current situation, the Chinese mainland’s military punishment for 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces will eventually be triggered.
"Time will prove that this warning is not just a verbal threat."
The incursions prompted Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu to say the territory was ready to fight.
"The defence of Taiwan is in our own hands, and we are absolutely committed to that," he told Australia’s ABC broadcaster.
"If China is going to launch a war against Taiwan we will fight to the end, and that is our commitment.
"I'm sure that if China is going to launch an attack against Taiwan, I think they are going to suffer tremendously as well."
China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has long threatened to use force to bring it under its control, with regular invasion drills carried out by its military.
Meanwhile, The Global Times has previously called for China to "crush" Taiwan.
“They have thus turned themselves into a block that the Chinese mainland must get rid of strategically and an evil force the mainland must crush,” it once said.
The warplanes deployed over recent days incluide 26 J-16 fighter jets, 10 Su-30 fighter jets, two Y-8 anti-submarine warning aircraft and one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control plane.
Taiwan has been repeatedly reporting missions conducted by China's air force that enter the island's ADIZ near the Pratas Islands, which it controls.
But recent incursions have beaten the previous record for the most amount of flights – when 28 Chinese military planes flew into the airspace in June.
It comes as tensions continue to rise in Asia as superpowers scramble to stock their military with the latest state-of-the-art warfare kit.
China alone has ploughed an extra 1.35 trillion yuan (£151 billion) into military spending this year – a modest 6.8 per cent increase – as it seeks to extend its claim over territory in the South China Sea, according to The Times.
The rising superpower also boasts of having DF-26 missiles that could knock out targets across South East Asia with deadly precision and speed, prompting commentators to call the purchase of weaponry a new arms race.
China has also previously warned it would nuke Japan on the eve of the Olympics if it intervened in Taiwan.
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