Taiwan has issued an alert for a possible "sudden entry" of the Chinese military into areas close to the island's territories. Taiwan's Defense Minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, explained in Parliament that China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) could find excuses to enter areas close to Taiwan's territorial air and maritime space, as the island is intensifying military exchanges with the United States, arousing Beijing's ire.

The Chinese military, he stressed, could make a "sudden entry" into the contiguous zone of Taiwan and approach its territorial space, which the island defines as 12 nautical miles from its shores.


National People's Congress in Beijing

Meanwhile in Beijing at the National People's Congress, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in his opening speech referred to the intensification of external attempts "to suppress and contain China, at a juncture in which uncertainties of the external environment are increasing, global inflation remains high and global economic and trade growth is losing momentum".

With "chaos" back in Hong Kong, the dossier at the center of the CCP's concerns, as well as the red line of relations with the United States, is Taiwan. China must implement the Communist Party's policy "on resolving the issue, adhering to the principle of 'One China' and the 1992 Consensus," Li added in front of some 3,000 delegates and party and institutional leaders, starting with President Xi Jinping.

The country "will take resolute measures to oppose the independence of Taiwan and to promote reunification", while relaunching "the peaceful development of relations in the Taiwan Strait" and "the process of peaceful reunification", said the premier.

"We again call on China to address the fact that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are not affiliated with each other and to respect the adherence of the people of Taiwan to freedom and democracy," the Mainland Affairs Council, which deals with relations with Beijing, replied in a statement.

For 2023, the communist leadership has launched a military spending budget that increased by 7.2% (the highest in the last four years) against 7.1% in 2022, equal to 1,560 billion (about 230 billion dollars) against 1,450 billion yuan.

China claims Taiwan as an "inalienable" part of its territory to be reunified even by force if necessary. It has sent warships, bombers, fighter jets and support aircraft almost daily to the airspace near Taiwan, straining the island's limited defense resources and attempting to reduce popular support for President Tsai Ing-wen, who has been in power since 2016.

Taipei has responded to Chinese threats by intensifying trade with the United States and leveraging the economy to strengthen foreign relations, as well as revitalize the domestic defense industry. Compulsory military service for men has been extended from four months to one year, and polls show high levels of popular support for increasing defense spending against Chinese pressure.