Taiwan 'closely monitoring' China's military build-up

Taiwan 'closely monitoring' China's military build-up

TAIPEI, August 17, 2010 (AFP) - Taiwan said Tuesday it was "closely monitoring" China's arms build-up following a US government report warning that China's  military advantage over the island was growing.

"China has not given up the use of force against Taiwan, and we are closely monitoring China's military developments. We ask the public to be rest assured," defence ministry spokesman Yu Sy-tue told AFP.

In an annual report to Congress, the Pentagon said Monday that China's military build-up against Taiwan has "continued unabated" despite improving political relations.

"The balance of... military forces continues to shift in the mainland's favor," the report said.

The report covered developments in 2009, before the United States approved a 6.4 billion-dollar arms package for the island in January.

China considers Taiwan, where the mainland's defeated nationalists fled in 1949, to be territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

However, ties have improved markedly since Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008 on a Beijing-friendly platform.

Ma has said that the island will not engage in an arms race with China, despite the threat it poses.