Taiwan's defence minister has said tensions with China are at their worst in 40 years. Chiu Kuo Cheng has expressed concern about the risk of an accidental strike between the two nations. According to Taiwan, over the last one week 150 Chinese air force aircraft have flown into Taiwan's air defence zone.
For context, Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state and China considers Taiwan, as a breakaway province or its own territory. China has stepped up military and political pressure to force Taiwan to accept Chinese rule. China has also blamed the US, calling it the chief culprit in the present tensions.
China has said the US has threatened regional peace by selling arms to Taiwan and warships sailing regularly through the Taiwan Strait. The Wall Street Journal has reported that US Special Forces have been training Taiwanese troops since 2020. As we look at China-Taiwan and China-US tensions, we have also seen a recent face-off between Indian and Chinese forces in Arunachal Pradesh in the Tawang sector.
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In an interview with CNBC-TV18's Parikshit Luthra, Dr Roger Liu, associate professor at Gateway House said, "China has been trying to increase the military pressure to Taiwan since the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016 as she is considered by China as pro-independence politicians in Taiwan. So they cut all of the talks that they used to have with the previous nationalist governments and now when they are facing the pro-independence government they try to use the military and put diplomatic pressure on Taiwan. I would say that before next year, we will see tensions grow up in the Strait. However, it is less likely that we will see real military action taking place. From the year 2025 to 2027, there will be a wind of danger between Taiwan and China because according to the study of the US military think tank, the balance between the US forces and the Chinese forces in the region will be tipped."
Ash Jain, director for Democratic Order at Atlantic Council said, "The possibility of an accidental strike is less in this case. What is more concerning is what China is deliberately trying to do in terms of escalating its pressure campaign against Taiwan. It is seeking to demoralise Taiwan's population and its military forces and project power and suggest that China is prepared to do whatever it needs to do to ultimately take control of Taiwan because the Chinese government views Taiwan as an integral part of China and Chinese territory. So this is a potential flash-point waiting to happen. It is unlikely that the Chinese will take any military action immediately. But certainly, in the years ahead, some are looking at the scenario that Russia used when it took control of Crimea after it hosted the Winter Olympics in 2014."
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