Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A report released on Wednesday by Taiwan's defense ministry calls for closer alliances with the United States, Japan and other countries in a rebuke to China's military threat.
The annual National Defense Report of the Ministry of Defense outlines strategies for countering China, and Taiwan's continued role as a "defender of peace" in the region. It encourages the Indo-Pacific Strategy of defense -- which involves the United States, Australia, Japan, Singapore South Korea and the Philippines -- and notes the growth of the indigenous Taiwanese defense industry.
Taiwan, formally known as the Republic of China, is an island nation off the coast of China and is regarded by China as a breakaway province, eventually to return. Its 2019 defense budget of $11.1 billion is dwarfed by China's budget of $167 billion, and China has increased its military activity in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the two countries.
China poses a challenge to Taiwan's security as it attempts to unilaterally change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, Taiwanese Defense Minister Yen De-fa said in the report. An incident in March, when Chinese military aircraft crossed the de facto maritime border, was cited.
The report added that China has not relinquished a plan of armed aggression against Taiwan, and its acceleration of military modernization is upsetting the military balance between the two countries.
In August, the United States agreed to sell up to $8 billion worth of arms, including 66 F-16 fighter jets, to Taiwan, a package that Taiwan has sought for over a decade.