The 2015 National Defense Report in Taiwan said China is “continuing to accumulate large-scale war capabilities, with the threat of a cross-strait military conflict continuing to exist,” noting that Beijing’s spending on its military has grown at double-digit rates over the past ten years.
The defense paper claimed that China was bolstering its forces in an effort to deter foreign forces from intervening should there be an invasion, which according to the report, was Beijing’s greatest concern. Furthermore, it said China’s armed forces would be strong enough by 2020 to launch an effort to retake the island, which broke away from the mainland following the 1949 civil war.
Taiwan fears that should a pro-independence president be elected in the next election, doubts could emerge if cross-straight peace could be maintained.
While China has been more transparent with its military spending, and it is on par with what you’d expect to see a nation that size spend, the fact that Beijing hasn’t ruled out retaking Taiwan by force should it formally declare independence is what has Taipei worried.
In addition, since the United States is Taiwan’s chief ally and provides arms to the island, there’s a risk that Washington could be drawn into the mix as well. Some feel that due to warmer economic ties with the mainland, it might create a situation of decreased vigilance and allow to China to assert control.