Taiwan says Chinese military threat grows, U.S. regional strategy unclear | Reuters

TAIPEI China’s accelerated military development and recent activity by Chinese military aircraft and ships around Taiwan pose an increased threat to the self-ruled island, according to a Taiwanese government defense report draft reviewed by Reuters.

The 2017 Quadrennial Defence Review also highlights the uncertainty over the future strategic direction of the United States in the region, the impact of Japan flexing its military capabilities and “conflict crisis” potential in the disputed South China Sea.

The document is due to be presented to parliament on Thursday.

“The recent activity of Chinese jets and ships around Taiwan shows the continued rise in (China’s) military threat capabilities,” highlighting the importance of Taiwan’s need to defend itself, the review will say.

“In addition to posing a military threat to our country, it also has a negative impact on regional stability.”

The four-yearly review is the first since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May last year and the first report under the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which traditionally advocates independence for Taiwan.

It comes as China – which claims Taiwan as a wayward province to be taken back by force if necessary – has been stepping up air and sea military exercises in waters surrounding Taiwan as part of a sweeping modernization of its armed forces.

Taiwan’s defense ministry had no comment on the report Wednesday.

(Reporting by J.R. Wu; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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