Taiwan won't start war with China: defence minister

Taiwan, a major semiconductor producer, has repeatedly said it will defend itself if attacked, but that it will not "advance rashly" and wants to maintain the status quo with China.

"What is clearest is that the Republic of China absolutely will not start or set off a war, but if there are movements, forcing us to make a move, we have no choice but to meet the enemy full on.," Chiu told a parliament committee meeting, using Taiwan's official name.

Military tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, are at their worst in more than 40 years, Chiu said last week, adding that China will be capable of mounting a "full-scale" invasion by 2025. He was speaking after China mounted four consecutive days of mass air force incursions into Taiwan's air defence identification zone that began on Oct. 1, part of a pattern of what Taipei views as stepped-up military harassment by Beijing.

China on Wednesday called its military activities a "just" move to protect peace and stability, and again blamed Taiwan's "collusion" with foreign forces - a veiled reference to the United States - for sowing the tension.

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