Taiwan fears that China is preparing for a full-scale invasion, and pushes for an additional $8.7 billion on arms purchases. Despite its deep insecurities, the tiny East Asian nation is seen as becoming another US proxy war pawn.

Taiwan's air defence systems detected the presence of at least 150 Chinese fighter aircraft hovering close to its airspace, increasing the long-standing tensions between Beijing and the tiny island nation, which enjoys the backing of the US. 

While China blames the US for making moves that pose dangers to China's "sovereignty" and threatens "peace and stability of the Taiwan strait," the Taiwanese government was quick to push for new arms spending worth $ 8.7 billion as the country's defence minister Chiu Kuo-cheng warned that Beijing will be capable of mounting "full scale" invasion of Taiwan by 2025. 

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen visits helicopter pilots preparing for the upcoming National Day celebrations, at an air base in Taipei, Taiwan October 8, 2021.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen visits helicopter pilots preparing for the upcoming National Day celebrations, at an air base in Taipei, Taiwan October 8, 2021. (Reuters)

For Beijing, the main concern is the US' muscle flexing along the South China Sea, where Washington has conducted several military drills in a show of strength.  

"Would a Chinese warship go to the Gulf of Mexico to make a show of strength?" Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said while commenting on US ships engaging in "provocations".

US special operations forces have been quietly training Taiwanese troops for months, risking the ire of China, a Pentagon official said October 7, 2021.
US special operations forces have been quietly training Taiwanese troops for months, risking the ire of China, a Pentagon official said October 7, 2021. (AFP)

Amidst this geopolitical wrangling, Taiwan feels the heat as its military tensions with China are now at their highest level in four decades. 

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan does not seek military confrontation but will do whatever it takes to defend its freedom. 

Speaking at a security forum on Friday, she accused China of undermining peace in the region.

Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state but China claims the territory as its own. 

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during a trip that comes in a particularly tense moment between Taiwan and China. Taipei, Taiwan, Oct. 7, 2021.
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during a trip that comes in a particularly tense moment between Taiwan and China. Taipei, Taiwan, Oct. 7, 2021. (AP)

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, speaking at the same forum, condemned China for its 'aggressive' actions.

Abbott said that he did not believe that neither the United States nor Australia could sit by and watch China "swallow up" Taiwan.

Taiwan has been complaining for more than a year about China's military activities, which it views as "grey zone warfare", designed to wear down Taiwanese forces and test their abilities.

Taiwan special forces personnel walk behind an armoured personnel carrier during an annual military drill in Taichung, central Taiwan, January 17, 2017
Taiwan special forces personnel walk behind an armoured personnel carrier during an annual military drill in Taichung, central Taiwan, January 17, 2017 (AFP)

During the Chinese Civil war, China and Taiwan were divided between the Chinese Nationalist and the Chinese Communist Party during the 1940s.

But Beijing still insists the island will be reclaimed at some point, by force if necessary.

A soldier holds a Taiwan national flag during a military exercise in Hsinchu County, northern Taiwan, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.
A soldier holds a Taiwan national flag during a military exercise in Hsinchu County, northern Taiwan, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (AP)

Taiwan’s status now holds a unique position in international law. It is sovereign by the international law definition but does not have a common recognition internationally. 

Only 14 of the 193 United Nations countries recognize Taiwan. 

But the island’s most important ally, the United States does not recognize the country. Yet, the two countries have maintained a positive relationship and the US is offering the island military assistance.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies