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Chinese military drills represent a threat, says Taiwan 

Taipei, Dec 26 (IANS) Taiwan’s Defence Ministry has called frequent Chinese military drills close to the island an “enormous threat” to its security, in an annual report published on Tuesday.

The Taiwanese Army said this week that China had carried out at least 20 drills with warplanes around Taiwan and Japan, 10 of which were after the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China in October.

Taiwan’s Defence Minister Feng Shih-kuan said in the report that the growing frequency of the exercises created an enormous threat to security in the Taiwan Strait, Efe news reported.

President Tsai Ing-wen said last week that the increasing number of drills was affecting regional stability.

The annual defence report stressed Taiwan’s preparedness to defend the island in the event of a Chinese attack amid growing tensions with Beijing after Tsai, from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, came to power in May 2016.

Last week, China carried out drills with fighter jets close to Taiwan for three consecutive days.

The report urged “multiple deterrence” and “asymmetric warfare” against the military power of China. It said Taiwan could not compete with China’s military budget or its arms development, highlighting that Taiwan deploys 210,000 soldiers compared to China’s two million.

The support of the US is key for Taiwan to deter China, although the island has developed a weapons programme, apart from a cyber army command with 1,000 members, according to defence sources.

China considers Taiwan a part of its territory and has threatened to attack the island if it makes a formal declaration of independence.

Taiwan maintains the position that it is a sovereign and independent country under the official name of the “Republic of China” and that it does not need to make a declaration of independence.

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