Taiwan’s army on Tuesday conducted a live ammunition artillery exercise simulating the island’s defense against a Chinese invasion that the head of diplomacy accuses Beijing of preparing.
An AFP reporter on the spot saw the start of operations in Pingtung County (south) shortly after 00:40 GMT, with flares and artillery fire. The drill ended around 01:30 GMT, said Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for Taiwan’s Eighth Corps.
The exercises will involve the deployment of hundreds of soldiers
The drills, with a second scheduled for Thursday, will involve the deployment of several hundred troops and about 40 howitzers, the army said.
China launched its biggest military maneuvers around Taiwan last week, in response to a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking US official to visit the self-governing island in decades.
Beijing “used the exercises and its military roadmap to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan”, launched Joseph Wu during a press conference in Taipei after the Taiwanese maneuvers. “China’s real intention is to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and across the region.”
“It conducts large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyberattacks, disinformation campaign and economic coercion to weaken people’s morale in Taiwan,” he added.
China considers Taiwan, with a population of around 23 million, to be one of its provinces, which it has yet to successfully reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War (1949 ).
Exercises already scheduled
Taiwan’s Eighth Army Corps spokesman said on Monday that the Taiwanese drills were already scheduled and were not a response to ongoing Chinese drills.
The island regularly holds military exercises simulating a Chinese invasion. The latest, last month, where she trained to repel attacks from the sea during a “joint interception operation”. These were his biggest annual exercises.
For Washington, the risk of escalation from Beijing is low
The Taiwan drills come after China extended its own joint sea and air maneuvers around the island on Monday. She did not confirm whether these operations will continue on Tuesday.
For Washington, the risk of escalation from Beijing is low. “I’m not worried, but I’m concerned that they’re moving around so much. But I don’t think they’re going to do anything more,” Joe Biden told reporters at Dover Air Force Base in the state of Delaware.
Joseph Wu did not fail to thank his Western allies during his press conference, including Nancy Pelosi, for standing up to China. “It also sends a clear message to the world that democracy will not yield to the bullying of authoritarianism,” he said.
No Chinese warplanes or ships entered Taiwan’s territorial waters – within 12 nautical miles of land – during the Beijing drills, Taiwan said.
The Chinese army has shown that it is closing in on the Taiwanese coast
Last week, however, the Chinese military released a video of an Air Force pilot filming the island’s coast and mountains from his cockpit, showing how close he had come. Taiwanese coasts.
Ballistic missiles were also fired over the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, during the drills last week, Chinese state media reported.
The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said maritime patrol aircraft, fighter jets, helicopters and a destroyer have been training to locate and attack targets in the waters off Taiwan.
Beijing justifies its behavior
The scale and intensity of China’s drills – coupled with its withdrawal from international climate and defense negotiations – have sparked outrage in the United States and other Western countries.
But Beijing on Monday defended its behavior, calling it “firm, forceful and appropriate” in the face of US provocation. “(We) are only issuing a warning to those responsible” for this crisis, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing, promising that China would “firmly break the illusion of the Taiwanese authorities to obtain independence through the United States”.