The Taiwanese women paying for weapons training amid fears of a Chinese invasion

ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward explores the sudden rise in women seeking weapons training in Taiwan

Weapon training courses in Taiwan have seen a spike in interest from residents as ordinary citizens take up arms as fears their country could be invaded by China rise.

China claims its self-ruled democratic neighbour Taiwan as its own territory, and has vowed to take it back, with force if necessary.

The Chinese Navy is conducting drills in the south China sea, as it intensifies its focus on Taiwan, which rejects its huge neighbour's claim of sovereignty and says only its people can decide the island's future.

Amid escalating geopolitical tensions, many people in Taiwan have joined firearm courses so they will be able to protect themselves in the event of an invasion.

Watching the heavy resistance civilians have shown in Ukraine, against invading Russian forces, is said to have inspired many.

"Ukraine is providing a very good example which shows us that as long as we do something united here we can accomplish something," one man said.

"At least we are showing to our enemy that there is a force here, not just our armed forces, but people are willing to defend for their own freedom."

Some people in Taiwan have started taking weapons training classes as they fear an invasion from China. Credit: ITV News

"The main reason for me to attend this course is to experience the shooting - how my body reacts to it and accustom myself to some sounds and some body movement," a woman, who was also at a training course, said.

US President Joe Biden, who is trying to shore up allies in the Indo-Pacific region, landed in South Korea this week, with Beijing warning that any interference in Taiwan could have dangerous consequences.

A J-15 fighter jet preparing to land on the Chinese navy's Liaoning aircraft-carrier during open-sea combat training. Credit: AP

"So much of the future of the world is going to be written here, in the Indo-Pacific, over the next several decades," President Biden said.

"We are standing on an infliction point in history, where the decisions that we make today will have far-reaching impacts on the world that we leave to our children tomorrow."

His comments come as Beijing has become increasingly assertive.

The Maritime Safety Administration office in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan said Chinese military drills began on Thursday and will continue through until Monday.

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