TAIPEI -- Taiwan aims to counter Chinese military pressure by building up its own forces with long-range missiles and stronger cyber defenses, according to its latest defense review.
Mainland China, "aspiring to become an international superpower, is eager to undermine the international order and regional stability," warns the newest edition of the Quadrennial Defense Review, which the Ministry of National Defense here submitted to the legislature Thursday. "It has been particularly imposing coercive means of verbal intimidation and saber-rattling, intrusion and provocation by aerial and maritime assets, cyberattacks, and cognitive warfare -- forcing us to succumb to their will."
The mainland is "posing increasing hostility and threats, further escalating the risk of accidents and clashes, and destabilizing the current peaceful condition across the Taiwan Strait," the report says, later noting years of simulations and drills "to rehearse its operations against Taiwan." China has also repeatedly flown warplanes into Taiwanese airspace.
In light of such developments, the Taiwanese report makes a call "to modernize the combat force."
Plans include air-launched missiles with a "highly extended range" and "stand-off attack weapon systems" -- the idea being to have the capability to make precision strikes on Chinese targets.
The report devotes a chapter to Chinese operations in the so-called gray zone, which "exists in an ambiguous realm between peace and war." It discusses Taiwanese responses to such acts as military drills near its airspace, hacking and espionage operations, and disinformation campaigns.
The Taiwanese cabinet on Thursday also approved the launch of a new body under the Defense Ministry dedicated to boosting recruitment for the island's armed forces, including reserve members.
Taiwan transitioned to an all-volunteer military in 2018 from a conscription model adopted in 1951 amid rising tensions with the mainland. But in light of the looming threat of conflict with China, Taiwan sees a need for a new framework to increase personnel numbers. Starting in 2022, the new body aims to retrain an annual 260,000 people who had left the military within the last eight years.