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Taiwan leader says Chinese takeover would be 'catastrophic' for Asia peace

Taiwan leader says Chinese takeover would be 'catastrophic' for Asia peace
A photo released by the Taiwan government shows a Chinese PLA Shenyang J-16 fighter jet following an incursion into Taiwan's air defense zone on Saturday. Photo by Taiwan defense ministry via EPA-EFE

Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen warned of growing Chinese military aggression on Tuesday and said it would be "catastrophic" for peace in the region if the island was taken over by the government in Beijing.

In an essay published in Foreign Affairs magazine, Tsai noted that Taiwan sits on an island chain from northern Japan to Borneo and disruptions to that line could destabilize the western Pacific.

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"Failure to defend Taiwan would not only be catastrophic for the Taiwanese; it would overturn a security architecture that has allowed for peace and extraordinary economic development in the region for seven decades," Tsai wrote.

The leader's warning came just days after China began flying dozens of military aircraft in Taiwan's air defense zone.

RELATED 56 Chinese aircraft fly into Taiwan's airspace

China claims Taiwan as a sovereign territory and the two governments have long quarreled over who has the right to the name "China."

Last weekend, U.S. officials warned China to stop with the flights and "economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan."

Beijing has pledged to take Taiwan by force, if necessary -- and Tsai countered in her essay Tuesday that the island will defend itself against any aggression from Beijing.

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RELATED Dozens of Chinese planes enter Taiwan air defense zone, ministry says

"As countries increasingly recognize the threat that the Chinese Communist Party poses, they should understand the value of working with Taiwan," she wrote.

"And they should remember that if Taiwan were to fall, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the democratic alliance system. It would signal that in today's global contest of values, authoritarianism has the upper hand over democracy."

RELATED U.S. urges China to stop 'provocative' flights in Taiwan's airspace

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