Taiwan accuses China of using drills to 'prepare for invasion'
Following days of massive Chinese war games, Taiwan's military held an artillery drill on Tuesday simulating defense against an attack, as Taipei alleged Beijing was preparing to invade the island. China initiated its largest-ever air and maritime exercises around Taiwan last week in response to the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—the first highest-ranking American official to visit the self-ruled island in decades.
- While Taiwan remains self-ruled, China claims the island as its own under the "One China" policy.
- Standing in solidarity with Taiwan's "independence," the third highest-ranking US official, Nancy Pelosi visited the island nation last week, leading to Chinese furor.
- Pelosi's trip was preceded by stern warnings from China that it will take resolute and aggressive measures for upholding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"China has used the drills in its military playbook to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan," stated Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. "China's real intention is to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and the entire region," he added. To note, China views Taiwan as part of its territory and wants to seize it someday, even by force if required.
Meanwhile, the Chinese military stated on Tuesday that its Taiwan drills will continue, involving air and sea units. The People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theater Command said it was training around Taiwan, focusing "on the joint blockade and joint support operations." Taiwan's anti-landing exercise came after China extended its own drills. However, the US reportedly stated it doesn't anticipate an escalation from Beijing any further.
"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 recently reportedly stated. However, Taiwanese minister Wu condemned Beijing on Tuesday for continuing military exercises, accusing it of attempting to control the important Taiwan Strait and waters throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
"It (China) is conducting large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyber-attacks, a disinformation campaign, and economic coercion...to weaken public morale in Taiwan," Wu stated. "It also sends a clear message to the world that democracy will not bow to the intimidation of authoritarianism," he added. Wu also thanked Western allies for standing up to China, including the US, following Pelosi's visit.
China's drills and withdrawal from climate and defense talks have outraged the US and other democracies. However, Beijing defended its response to alleged American "provocation" as "firm, forceful, and appropriate." "We're only issuing a warning to the perpetrators," a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson recently stated at a press conference, promising China will "firmly smash the Taiwan authorities' illusion of gaining independence through the US."