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Pentagon official tells Taiwan to modernize its military
- A Pentagon official is urging Taiwan to boost its defense spending in order to "modernize its military" in the face of the potential threat from Beijing.
- David Helvey, the US principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, said Taipei must "provide the critical material, manning and training needed to deter, or if necessary, defeat a cross-strait invasion."
- Helvey's comments follow a rousing speech made last week by China's President Xi Jinping who encouraged soldiers in the contested South China Sea to "concentrate preparations for fighting a war."
A Pentagon official is urging Taiwan to boost its defense spending and "modernize its military" in the face of Beijing's growing military prowess.
David Helvey, the US principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs said at a conference in Anapolis, Maryland, that the island "must have resources to modernize its military and provide the critical material, manning and training needed to deter, or if necessary defeat, a cross-strait invasion," the South China Morning Post reported.
The official also took a shot at China for what they said was an attempt to "erode Taiwan's diplomatic space in the international arena while increasing the frequency and scale of [The People's Liberation Army] activity."
"Taiwan's current efforts will falter," he warned, unless Taipei increases its military spending and improves its readiness for direct confrontation.
Helvey's comments will be seen by many as a direct response to China's President and Chairman of the Central Military Commission Xi Jinping who only last week told the command which oversees the tense South China Sea to "concentrate preparations for fighting a war."
Read more:China's commander-in-chief has ordered the military command overseeing the South China Sea to prepare for war
China's Minister of Defense Wei Fenghe also warned that China will not give up "one single piece" of its territorial holdings, adding that "challenges" to its sovereignty over Taiwan could lead China to use military force.
China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang responded on Wednesday to enhanced exchanges between the US and Taiwan.
"China is firmly opposed to any forms of official exchanges and military contacts between the US and Taiwan," he said, calling on the US to "stop its official exchanges and military contacts with Taiwan, and stop selling arms to Taiwan."
Beijing has taken a strong stance against official US contact and arms sales to Taiwan.
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