Taiwan commissions US warships amid growing Chinese threat

Taiwan commissions US warships amid growing Chinese threat 

A handout photo made available by Taiwan’s Military News Agency shows President Tsai Ing-wen waving to naval officers from friagte Ming Chuan at Zuoying naval base in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, Nov. 8, 2018. EPA-EFE/TAIWAN MILITARY NEWS AGENCY / HANDOUT

Taipei, Nov 8 (efe-epa).- The president of Taiwan urged the country’s armed forces on Thursday to stay prepared against a potential Chinese threat to the island’s security, during a ceremony to commission two United States guided missile frigates.

“We want to send a clear and firm message from the Taiwanese people to the international community that we will not concede one step in defending… Taiwan and protecting our free and democratic way of life,” Tsai Ing-wen said at the Zuoying naval base in Kaohsiung.

Tsai termed the Chinese military activities near Taiwan as attempts to undermine its sovereignty and threaten regional stability, and urged the defense forces to prepare to tackle new threats from China.

She also accused China of disseminating fake news with the aim of attacking the government and industry on the island, posing a threat to its security.

The American Institute in Taiwan, which serves as the the US representation on the island, said in a statement Thursday that the sale of the frigates was “consistent with United States commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide military articles that support Taiwan’s self-defense”, and it would “contribute to political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific region “.

The two frigates that were commissioned Thursday were built in the 1980s and was fitted with SQQ-89 undersea warfare combat system and the SQR-19 sonar system, before being sent to Taiwan.

The US, under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, is committed to defend the island and supply it with military equipment to defend itself against a possible Chinese attack.