Taiwan is bolstering its defenses and steeling itself for the possibility of war with China as leader Xi Jinping readies to assume a third term in power and tries to achieve what no predecessor has done by taking control of the island.

Xi has made no secret of his desire to make democratically ruled Taiwan a part of the People's Republic of China — peacefully if possible but with force if needed — to cement his legacy in the history books.

China's war games near Taiwan in August pushed tensions to their highest in decades, reigniting fears of conflict that have loomed ever since the defeated Republic of China government fled to the island in 1949 after loosing a civil war to Mao Zedong's communists.