Taiwan retaliates: Taipei begins its OWN live-fire military drills as it accuses China of using exercises after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit as a ‘game-plan’ for invasion
- Beijing launched its largest-ever air and sea exercises around Taiwan last week
- This was done in response to a visit by Pelosi, the highest-ranking American official to visit the self-ruled island in decades – ratcheting up regional tensions
- Joseph Wu said Beijing’s drills were preparation for an invasion of the island
- Taiwan held its own artillery drill Tuesday simulating defence against an invasion
Taiwan’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that China was using the military drills it launched in protest against U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit as a game-plan to prepare for an invasion of the self-ruled island.
Joseph Wu’s accusation came as Taiwan held an artillery drill on Tuesday simulating defence against an attack on the island, and as tensions in the region remain high.
Beijing launched its largest-ever air and sea exercises around Taiwan last week in a furious response to a visit by Pelosi, the highest-ranking American official to visit the self-ruled island in decades.
Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which views its neighbour as part of Chinese territory to be seized one day, by force if necessary.
Wu offered no time-table for a possible invasion. He said Taiwan would not be intimidated even as the drills continued with China often breaching the unofficial median line down the Taiwan Strait.
‘China has used the drills in its military play-book to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan,’ Wu said, speaking at a press conference in Taipei.
Taiwan’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that China was using the military drills it launched in protest against U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit as a game-plan to prepare for an invasion of the self-ruled island. Pictured: Taiwan carries out its own artillery drills on Tuesday
Pictured: Shells are showing flying through the air as Taiwan carries out artillery drills, Tuesday
‘It is conducting large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyberattacks, disinformation, and economic coercion, in an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan.
‘After the drills conclude, China may try to routinise its action in an attempt to wreck the long-term status quo across the Taiwan Strait,’ Wu said.
Such moves threatened regional security and provided ‘a clear image of China’s geostrategic ambitions beyond Taiwan’, Wu said, urging greater international support to stop China effectively controlling the strait.
The Chinese military said its Taiwan drills continued Tuesday and involved air and sea units. The Eastern Theater command of the People’s Liberation Army said in a statement that it was conducting training exercises around the island, ‘focusing on joint blockade and joint support operations’.
Wu went on to thank Western allies, including the US after Pelosi’s visit, for standing up to China. ‘It also sends a clear message to the world that democracy will not bow to the intimidation of authoritarianism,’ he said.
Taiwan has insisted that no Chinese warplanes or ships entered its territorial waters – within 12 nautical miles of land – during Beijing’s drills.
The Chinese military, however, released a video last week of an air force pilot filming the island’s coastline and mountains from his cockpit, showing how close it had come to Taiwan’s shores.
Its ships and planes have also regularly crossed the median line – an unofficial demarcation between China and Taiwan that the former does not recognise – since drills began last week.
Ballistic missiles were fired over Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, during the exercises last week, according to Chinese state media.
Despite the drills, a Pentagon official said on Monday that Washington was sticking to its assessment that China would not try to invade Taiwan for the next two years.
‘I’m not worried, but I’m concerned they’re moving as much as they are. But I don’t think they’re going to do anything more than they are,’ US President Joe Biden told reporters at Dover Air Force Base.
The Chinese military released a video last week of an air force pilot filming the island’s coastline and mountains from his cockpit, showing how close it had come to Taiwan’s shores
Pictured: Aircraft of the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conduct a joint combat training exercises around the Taiwan Island on August 7
Taipei’s own drill started in the southern county of Pingtung shortly after 0040 GMT with the firing of target flares and artillery, ending just under an hour later at 0130 GMT, said Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for Taiwan’s Eighth Army Corps.
Soldiers fired from howitzers tucked into the coast, hidden from view of the road that leads to popular beach destination Kenting.
The drills, which will also take place Thursday, included the deployment of hundreds of troops and about 40 howitzers, the army said.
On Monday, Lou told AFP news agency the drills had been scheduled previously and were not in response to China’s exercises.
The island routinely stages military drills simulating defence against a Chinese invasion, and last month practised repelling attacks from the sea in a ‘joint interception operation’ as part of its largest annual exercises.
Wu spoke as military tensions simmer after the scheduled end on Sunday of four days of the largest-ever Chinese exercises surrounding the island – drills that included ballistic missile launches and simulated sea and air attacks in the skies and seas surrounding Taiwan.
An UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter prepares for landing during a military exercise at the Hengchun airport in Pingtung county, southern Taiwan August 9, 2022
Visiting US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (centre) waves to journalists during her arrival at the Parliament in Taipei on August 3, 2022. With her visit, Pelosi became the highest-ranking American official to visit the self-ruled island in decades
Chinese official is ridiculed after claiming Taipei’s 38 dumpling restaurants proves Taiwan is part of China
A senior Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman has prompted a storm of ridicule online, after a late-night tweet where she used restaurant listings to assert Beijing’s claim over Taiwan.
‘Baidu Maps show that there are 38 Shandong dumpling restaurants and 67 Shanxi noodle restaurants in Taipei,’ spokeswoman Hua Chunying posted on the social media site late on Sunday.
‘Palates don’t cheat. #Taiwan has always been a part of China. The long lost child will eventually return home,’ she added.
Hua’s tweet on Sunday appeared to backfire, as thousands of users on Twitter – a site banned in China and only accessible via special VPN software – piled on to poke holes in the top official’s logic.
‘There are over 100 ramen restaurants in Taipei, so Taiwan is definitely a part of Japan,’ a Twitter user with the handle ‘Marco Chu’ wrote in Hua’s replies.
‘Google Maps show that there are 17 McDonalds, 18 KFCs, 19 Burger Kings, and 19 Starbucks in Beijing. Palates don’t cheat. #China has always been a part of America. The long lost child will eventually return home,’ Twitter user ‘@plasticreceiver’ wrote in a parody of Hua’s tweet.
Others wondered jokingly if Hua’s logic meant Beijing could place claims on territories far beyond the Asia Pacific region.
‘There are 29 dumpling houses in the Greater Los Angeles area not to mention 89 noodle restaurants,’ a person tweeting under the name ‘Terry Adams’ wrote.
‘Using Hua’s logic, LA has always been a part of China.’
Sunday’s tweet is far from the first time Beijing’s diplomats have raised eyebrows with their use of social media that their own government prohibits.
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has frequently promoted conspiracy theories on Twitter, including the idea that the US military might have brought Covid-19 to China.
China’s Eastern Theatre Command announced on Monday that it would conduct fresh joint drills focusing on anti-submarine and sea assault operations – confirming the fears of some security analysts and diplomats that Beijing would keep up the pressure on Taiwan’s defences.
A person familiar with security planning in the areas around Taiwan described to Reuters on Tuesday a continuing ‘standoff’ around the median line involving about 10 warships each from China and Taiwan.
‘China continued to try to press in to the median line,’ the person said. ‘Taiwan forces there have been trying to keep the international waterways open.’
As Pelosi left the region last Friday, China also ditched some lines of communication with the United States, including theatre level military talks and discussions on climate change.
Taiwan started its own long-scheduled drills on Tuesday, firing howitzer artillery out to sea in the southern county of Pingtung.
U.S. President Joe Biden, in his first public comments on the issue since Pelosi’s visit, said on Monday he was concerned about China’s actions in the region but he was not worried about Taiwan.
‘I’m concerned they are moving as much as they are,’ Biden told reporters in Delaware, referring to China. ‘But I don’t think they’re going to do anything more than they are.’
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl also said the U.S. military would continue to carry out voyages through the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks.
China has never ruled out taking Taiwan by force and on Monday Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that China was conducting normal military exercises ‘in our waters’ in an open, transparent and professional way, adding Taiwan was part of China.
Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims, saying only the Taiwanese people can decide the island’s future.
On Tuesday, the Chinese military released more details about the anti-submarine drills it had conducted a day earlier around the island.
The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater command said the exercises were aimed at enhancing the ability of air and sea units to work together while hunting submarines.
It said maritime patrol aircraft, fighter jets, helicopters and a destroyer practiced locating and attacking targets in the waters off Taiwan.
The scale and intensity of China’s drills – as well as its withdrawal from key talks on climate and defence – have triggered outrage in the United States and other democracies.
Beijing’s moves threatened regional security and provided ‘a clear image of China’s geostrategic ambitions beyond Taiwan’, Wu (pictured on Tuesday) said, urging greater international support to stop China effectively controlling the strait
But Beijing on Monday defended its behaviour as ‘firm, forceful and appropriate’ to American provocation.
‘(We) are only issuing a warning to the perpetrators,’ foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular briefing, promising China would ‘firmly smash the Taiwan authorities’ illusion of gaining independence through the US’.
‘We urge the US to do some earnest reflection, and immediately correct its mistakes.’
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