In case Taiwan is attacked, the military will defend the nation and not stand by like “plastic toys,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.
Chiu was responding to Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) asking him to clarify his remark last week that “the military holds to the principle that we will not fire the first shot.”
Wang asked Chiu whether he meant what he said literally or that Taiwan would not start a war.
“The Republic of China will not start a war,” Chiu said, but added that if the enemy were to invade Taiwan, the military would defend the country.
Dismissing critics’ warnings about any war being Taiwan’s first and last, Chiu said that if there was a war, “its conclusion cannot be determined unilaterally.”
The military is not “a collection of plastic toys” and will take action if the ministry thinks there is a threat of invasion, he said, while stressing that the military’s principle is never to start a war.
Chiu also addressed Beijing’s remarks on Wednesday that China’s increased military exercises near Taiwan target only those seeking independence, saying that war has no regard for political affiliation.
“Bullets do not discriminate based on what color [which political party] you are affiliated with once war breaks out,” Chiu told reporters on the sidelines of the legislative committee session.
It is the military’s duty to protect all Taiwanese against threats to national security, he added.
Chiu was responding to comments by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光), who said that the Chinese military’s exercises were aimed at separatist activities and “interference by external forces.”
The armed forces will safeguard the nation to make sure people could live their lives in a free and democratic environment, he said.
A total of 150 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in the first five days of this month, including 56 planes on Tuesday last week, the largest incursion in a single day since the military began releasing data on such incidents in September last year.
Chiu also presented a report on the military’s response to intensified cross-strait tensions, saying that it has beefed up its joint intelligence collection and emergency response capabilities through increased exercises.
This would ensure that the armed forces can monitor the latest situation in the Taiwan Strait, and make immediate and appropriate responses, he said.
A new course teaching military personnel how to combat cognitive warfare by China was introduced in July. It covers handling displays of force and the sharing of disinformation with the aim to influence individual and group beliefs and behaviors to favor an aggressor’s tactical or strategic objectives.
The new course will be expanded to all field units as part of their routine political warfare training, Chiu said in the report.
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