China’ is prepared to “resolutely smash any form of Taiwan independence,” its military said Tuesday, as the U.S. reportedly prepares to accelerate the sale of defensive weapons and other military assistance to the self-governing island democracy.
A recent increase in exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries is an “extremely wrong and dangerous move,” Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Tan Kefei said in a statement and video posted online.
China’s People’s Liberation Army “continues to strengthen military training and preparations and will resolutely smash any form of Taiwanese independence secession along with attempts at outside interference, and will resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Tan said, in a reference to Taiwan’s closest ally, the United States.
China claims the island of 23 million people as its own territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary.
With the world’s largest navy, latest-generation fighter jets and a huge arsenal of ballistic missiles, China has been upping its threats by sending planes and warships into waters and airspace around Taiwan. With more than 2 million members, the PLA also ranks as the world’s largest standing military, although transporting even a portion of the force in the event of an invasion is considered a huge logistical challenge.