Taipei Reportedly Prepares for “A War Scenario Across the Straits” With Beijing
Taiwan plans to allocate up to TWD 50 billion ($1.6 billion) to develop drones that could be used in a potential conflict with Beijing, the Financial Times reported Wednesday, citing sources. The plan comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping refused to rule out the use of force to throw the self-governed island back into its lap.
According to people familiar with the case, quoted by the newspaper, a government three-year plan is aimed at organizing private unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturers in “a national team”, who will develop drones “for several specific missions in a strait war scenario.”
Taipei wants manufacturers to be ready for orders by July 2023, the report said.
While there are several Taiwanese companies producing commercial UAVs, the island’s military has barely exploited this potential over fears private companies would leak secrets to Beijing, FT sources said, adding another reason is a lack of concrete ones. concepts for the deployment of drones.
A senior Taiwanese official told the outlet that drone warfare has attracted a lot of attention due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. “The war in Ukraine has emphasized the urgency of preparing for a conflict in the Taiwan Strait and the critical role drones can play in such a conflict,” they said.
Taiwan’s focus on drones comes after President Tsai Ing-wen said this week that there are “is a real threat” of a clash with China. Her comments followed a statement by Chinese President Xi Jinping last month who claimed that while Beijing is looking for a “peaceful reunion” with Taiwan, it is “will never promise to give up the use of force and reserve the opportunity to take all necessary measures.”
As tensions ran high in the region, Taipei announced a record 13% increase in defense spending in late August, proposing to invest $19 billion in its military by 2023.
Taiwan has ruled itself since Nationalist forces led by Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island in 1949 after losing a civil war to the communists. Beijing considers it Chinese territory.
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