Taiwan’s top military official said Thursday that Taipei will not start a kinetic war with China as tensions in the region intensify after Beijing recently launched record numbers of military aircraft towards the island.
Chiu Kuo-cheng said Taiwan "absolutely will not start a war," according to Reuters.
China’s recent aggression near the island has some international observers wondering if Beijing is planning an invasion. Few believe war is imminent, but the sheer size of these Chinese sorties has many concerned that there could be a miscalculation that spills over into a larger conflict and possibly include the U.S., Japan, the U.K. and Australia.
China claims Taiwan as its own, and controlling the island is a key component of Beijing’s political and military thinking. Leader Xi Jinping on the weekend again emphasized "reunification of the nation must be realized, and will definitely be realized" — a goal made more realistic with massive improvements to China’s armed forces over the last two decades.
Taiwan has recently announced new investments into its military. President Tsai Ing-wen said the money is intended to "demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves."
Russian President Vladimir Putin told CNBC Wednesday at an energy conference that China doesn’t need to use its military to achieve its goal regarding Taiwan.
"China is a huge powerful economy, and in terms of purchasing parity, China is the economy number one in the world ahead of the United States now," Putin said, according to the network. "By increasing this economic potential, China is capable of implementing its national objectives. I do not see any threats."
The Associated Press contributed to this report