Military drills show China preparing to invade, Taiwan says


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s foreign minister on Tuesday accused China of using U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taipei as a pretext to launch large-scale military exercises for a possible invasion.

Speaking to reporters, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu called Beijing’s military drills in response to Pelosi’s trip a “serious provocation” and an attempt to overturn the status quo in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.

“China used the drills in its military manual to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan,” Wu said, citing Beijing’s drills, missile launchescyberattacks and trade sanctions as “an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan”.

“China has been threatening Taiwan militarily for years and continues to step up its efforts,” he said. “That’s a fact.”

Chinese military extends drills near Taiwan after Pelosi trip

Tensions in the Taiwan Strait have skyrocketed in recent days, raising fears of a possible conflict that could involve China, the United States and Taiwan, as well as Washington’s allies in the region.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command said on Tuesday that sea and air drills near Taiwan were continuing, marking at least the sixth consecutive day of drills aimed at threatening the island. He said the maneuvers would focus on blockade simulation and joint logistics coordination. The Taiwanese military began previously scheduled drills on Tuesday.

“The [Chinese Communist Party’s] Continued military exercises show that the threat of force has not been reduced,” Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

Beijing claims that Taiwan, a self-governing democracy that has enjoyed de facto independence for decades, is an inseparable part of its territory that must be unified with China. In retaliation for Taiwan’s hosting of Pelosi, D-California, last week, the PLA announced military drills targeting Taiwan from all directions.

The PLA then fired missiles around Taiwan and sent dozens of military aircraft and warships near the island. It has deployed warships and jets in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, the unofficial center line that both sides had largely observed for years until 2020, when Beijing denied the center line existed. and started crossing it more frequently.

In China, state media and officials have worked to project their strength onto citizens who have learned for decades that Taiwan is theirs by right and will one day be part of the Chinese motherland. Military analysts speaking to state media say military incursions across the center line will happen more regularly, with some saying Pelosi’s visit could “speed up” unification.

State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) released a video clip of the PLA on Tuesday. practice an amphibious assault on the shores of Fujian, the province directly across from Taiwan.

At a regular press briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin did not answer a question about the duration of the drills. He said the government was conducting “normal military exercises” in an “open, transparent and professional” manner, in accordance with national and international law.

The drills “are a warning to provocateurs”, he said, describing China’s response as “justified” to protect China’s territorial integrity.

While tensions are at their highest since the last Taiwan Strait Crisis in the 1990s, when the PLA fired missiles that landed near Taiwan, the prospect of a military confrontation is still dim.

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan ushers in new phase of China’s pressure campaign

Beijing has signaled some restraint and a desire to avoid direct conflict with the United States. Plans for the exercises – scheduled after Pelosi left – covered areas within the 12-nautical-mile littoral zone that Taiwan claims as its territorial waters. But Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that no Chinese military aircraft had yet encroached on the island’s territory.

The drills had little impact on daily life in Taiwan, where residents are used to near-daily reports of Chinese military incursions. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it detected 10 PLA ​​warships and 45 warplanes, including 16 that crossed the median line on Tuesday.

A poll released on Monday by the China Association for Public Opinion Research, a Taiwan-based group, found that more than 60 percent of some 1,000 respondents questioned between Aug. 3 and Aug. -strait will lead to a military conflict. About 54% said they thought Pelosi’s visit was good for US-Taiwanese relations.

When asked if there was real concern within the Taiwanese government that Beijing was preparing for an invasion, Wu said his country was “very worried”.

“But at the same time, we remain calm,” he said. “We remain resilient. The best way to deal with a regime that tries to bully us is to show that we are not bullied. We are not afraid of China.

Pei-Lin Wu contributed to this report.

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