(Al Jazeera) Taiwan’s newly-appointed defence minister has told parliament the island had strengthened deployments in the disputed South China Sea and that the United States has approved the export of sensitive technology to equip Taiwan’s new submarine fleet.
China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own, has increased military activity near the island in recent months seeking to pressure Taipei to accept Beijing’s sovereignty. Taiwan has pledged to defend itself.
Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng, who took up his post last month, said Taiwan had increased personnel and armaments stationed on Itu Aba, the main island Taiwan occupies in the South China Sea.
Itu Aba, also known as Taiping Island, is the largest naturally occurring island in the Spratlys and is garrisoned by Taiwan’s Coast Guard.
“They are capable of starting a war,” Chiu told the parliament when asked by a legislator on whether China could attack Taiwan. “My goal is for us to be ready at all times.”