Exclusive: Taiwan says Chinese military threat grows, U.S. regional strategy unclear

Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:40am EDT
 
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By J.R. Wu

TAIPEI (Reuters) - China's accelerated military development and recent activity by its 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 (QDR) 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 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 document is due to be presented to parliament on Thursday by Taiwan defense minister Feng Shih-kuan. The defense ministry had no comment on the report on Wednesday.

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

"The country's military development and Taiwan's freedom and prosperity are the same living body," according to the draft.

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FILE PHOTO: Members of the Chinese People Liberation Army Navy stand by a helicopter on the PLA(N) ship Haikou as it sits docked at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in Honolulu, Hawaii, July 5, 2014.  REUTERS/Hugh Gentry/File Photo