Taiwan is not intimidated by China’s military drills this week, its president said, after the latest Chinese military manoeuvres were denounced as “coercion” and a threat to stability in the region.
China’s People’s Liberation Army said its warships, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft conducted “necessary drills” around Taiwan on Monday, although it described them as routine.
Taiwan scrambled jets and ships to monitor the Chinese forces, its defence ministry said, accusing Beijing of “trying to change the status quo of the Taiwan Strait”.
On Tuesday, President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan was not intimidated by the drills.
“As you may be aware, China’s armed forces yesterday sent a large number of military aircraft and naval vessels into our vicinity. Their actions threaten Taiwan and other-like minded countries in the region,” said Tsai.
“These actions only serve to strengthen our resolve. Our military forces have the capacity, determination, and commitment to defend Taiwan and not allow coercion to dictate our own future.”
Tsai also said the US administration had notified Taipei of its third arms sale to Taiwan, the training of pilots at the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
“It enhances their abilities to defend our air space. I want to express my appreciation to the US government for the announcement.”
The goal of the drills was to practise a “combined firepower assault” that included electronic jamming from aircraft under the protection of fighter jets, the People’s Liberation Army Daily reported on Tuesday.
Bombers “screamed” towards the area and carried out “sudden attacks” while warships occupied assault positions and conducted attacks on “enemy” fire points, the official paper of China’s military said.
The paper cited a Chinese military representative as saying the drills were annual, planned exercises that were “completely within the normal legal rights of a sovereign country”.
Meanwhile, Paul Ryan, former speaker of the US House of Representatives, said the US considers any military threat to Taiwan a concern and urged China to stop, saying the moves were counterproductive.
The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide the island with the means to defend itself and is its main source of arms.
Taiwan: Spies, Lies and Cross-straits Ties | People and Power