Taiwan, China Hold Opposing Drills 08/17 06:15
Taiwan is staging military exercises to show its ability to resist Chinese
pressure to accept Beijing's political control over the self-governing island,
following new rounds of threatening drills from China.
HUALIEN, Taiwan (AP) -- Taiwan is staging military exercises to show its
ability to resist Chinese pressure to accept Beijing's political control over
the self-governing island, following new rounds of threatening drills from
The exercises Wednesday off the southeastern county of Hualien follow days
of Chinese missile firings and incursions into Taiwan's sea and airspace by
ships and planes from the People's Liberation Army, the military wing of
China's ruling Communist Party.
"We strongly condemn Communist China's continuous military provocations
around Taiwan's sea and air that undermine regional peace," Taiwan Defense
Ministry spokesperson Sun Li-fang told reporters at Hualien Air Force Base.
"Communist China's military operations just provide us with the opportunity
for combat-readiness training," Sun said.
Taiwan's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou said China was using recent
visits by U.S. Congress members including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a
pretext for escalating its attempts to intimidate Taiwan into accepting what it
calls its terms for "peaceful reunification."
"China launched military provocations on these grounds. This is absurd and a
barbaric act, which also undermines regional stability and interferes with
shipping and commercial activities in the Indo-Pacific region," Ou said.
China sees the island as a breakaway province to be annexed by force if
necessary, and considers visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as recognizing
Alongside its military threats, China imposed visa bans and other sanctions
Tuesday on Taiwanese political figures. China exercises no effective legal
authority over Taiwan and it's unclear what effect the sanctions would have.
China has refused all contact with Taiwan's government since shortly after
the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic
Progressive Party. Tsai was overwhelmingly reelected in 2020.
The DPP also controls the legislature, while the vast majority of Taiwanese
favor maintaining the status quo of de facto independence along with strong
economic and social connections between the sides.
China accuses Washington of encouraging the island's independence through
the sale of weapons and engagement between U.S. politicians and the island's
government. The U.S. says it does not support independence and has no formal
diplomatic ties with the island, but it is legally bound to ensure Taiwan can
defend itself against threats from China, including a blockade.
Aside from putting its military on alert, Taiwan has largely played down the
threat from the Chinese exercises and life has continued as normal among a
population of 23 million that has lived under the shadow of bellicose rhetoric
and saber rattling from China for more than seven decades.