The island nation’s statement of defiance comes as Beijing increases its military activities near the island that it has claimed since the communist nation’s founding, a claim which Taipei routinely rejects, saying only the people of Taiwan can decide its future.
The Chinese Communist Party claims it was forced to escalate its military activities around Taiwan after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit, the most high-profile visit of any U.S. politician in the country in decades.
This visit was followed by the communist nation holding military exercises all around Taiwan, effectively blockading it for the duration of the live-fire drills, which included missile tests. (Related: U.S. defense experts ‘map out’ potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan, reveal ‘high cost’ of defending island.)
Officials from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said China’s “high intensity” military patrols have not stopped since Pelosi’s visit. The ministry added that the main source of instability in the region comes from the CCP acting on its plans to make the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from Mainland China, its “inner sea.”
“For aircraft and ships that entered our sea and air territory of 12 nautical miles, the National Army will exercise the right to self-defense and counterattack without exception,” said Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Operations and Planning Lin Weng-Huang.
Following the end of the military drills, Taiwan has repeatedly been visited by Chinese drones flying close to groups of islands governed by Taiwan that are only a few miles – or even less than a mile – from the Chinese mainland. In more than one incident, Taiwanese soldiers fired warning shots at Chinese drones.
The drone entered Taiwanese territory shortly after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen ordered the military to take “strong countermeasures” against Chinese provocations. This warning was followed by Lin saying that if these incursions did not heed the warnings of Taiwanese forces to leave their territory, the military would exercise its right to counterattack.
China continues to claim Taiwan
In multiple press briefings, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian reiterated Beijing’s position that Taiwan is the rightful territory of the communist nation.
“Firstly, I need to tell you, Taiwan is a province of China, it has no so-called defense ministry,” he said. “The Taiwan authorities are playing up their nervousness, this is meaningless.”
The Foreign Ministry also dismissed complaints from Taiwan about drone incursions and harassment as “not worth fussing about.”
Ma Cheng-Kun, director at the National Defense University, Taiwan’s national military academy, said if Chinese drone incursions are not stopped, the communist nation might escalate by moving to reject the passage of foreign naval ships through the Taiwan Strait without China’s permission.
“After the new military normal status has been consolidated, then the risk of collision will increase if foreign naval ships insist on the rights of navigation and freedom,” said Ma.
Warships from the United States and allied nations such as Canada and the United Kingdom have routinely sailed through the Taiwan Strait in recent years, including two U.S. Navy warships in the last week of August.
Military analysts note that Taiwan’s armed forces are well-trained and well-equipped, but are dwarfed by China’s massive military, the second most well-funded in the world behind the United States. Tsai is overseeing a rapid modernization program and has made increasing defense spending a priority, but it will take time before her reforms bear fruit.
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Watch this video of a Chinese drone entering Taiwanese territory and violating its sovereignty by gathering intelligence on a military outpost.
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