søndag 20. mars 2022

Russia's invasion of Ukraine sparks concern in Taiwan over readiness for conflict with China

On a regular day, they're lawyers, software engineers and blacksmiths. But this week, they donned military fatigues, fired assault rifles at numbered targets, and marched long distances in full military gear -- all to prepare for a possible attack by China's military.

The 400-odd men were some of Taiwan's reservists, the first to face a new, stringent 14-day training schedule -- up from the previous seven days -- introduced by the government this month to boost the island's combat readiness.  Analysts say the tougher training schedule, among other moves, show how seriously Taiwan is taking the threat of a possible Chinese invasion -- and those fears have only heightened recently, with some drawing comparisons between Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine and the potential existential threat to Taiwan.

Beijing has dismissed the similarities though the ruling Chinese Communist Party has repeatedly vowed to "reunify" with the self-ruling island of 24 million people -- by force if necessary -- despite having never governed it. Beijing has also stepped up its military pressure on Taiwan, including sending a record number of warplanes last year near Taiwan, which is fewer than 124 miles (200 kilometers) from China's southeastern coast.