Taiwan says military exercises show China is preparing for invasion

Suspension

Taipei, Taiwan – Taiwan’s foreign minister accused China on Tuesday of using US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei as an excuse to launch large-scale military exercises in preparation for a possible invasion.

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

“China used the exercises in its military book to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan,” Wu said, citing Beijing’s maneuvers, missile launches, cyber attacks and trade sanctions as “an attempt to weaken the general morale in Taiwan.”

“China has been threatening Taiwan militarily for years, and continues to develop its efforts,” he said. “This is a fact.”

Chinese military expands exercises near Taiwan after Pelosi’s trip

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

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said Tuesday that naval and air exercises near Taiwan are continuing, at least on the sixth day of exercises aimed at threatening the island. She said that the maneuvers will focus on simulating siege operations and joint logistical coordination. Taiwan’s military began scheduled exercises earlier on Tuesday.

“The [Chinese Communist Party’s] Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday that the continuation of military exercises shows that the threat of force has not decreased.

Beijing claims that Taiwan, a democratic and self-governing country that has enjoyed de facto independence for decades, is an inalienable part of its territory and should be unified with China. In response to Taiwan’s hosting of Pelosi (D-C) last week, the People’s Liberation Army announced military exercises targeting Taiwan from all directions.

The People’s Liberation Army then launched missiles around Taiwan and sent dozens of military aircraft and warships near the island. It has deployed warships and aircraft across the midpoint of the Taiwan Strait, the unofficial mid-line largely respected by both sides for years until 2020, when Beijing denied the existence of the mid-line and began crossing it frequently.

Within China, state media and officials have served to project power to the citizens who have learned over the decades that Taiwan is their right and will one day be part of the motherland of China. Military analysts speaking to state media say military incursions across the midfield will occur more regularly, with some arguing that Pelosi’s visit could “accelerate” unification.

The state-run China Central Television (CCTV) released a video on Tuesday showing the People’s Liberation Army launching an amphibious assault on the beaches of Fujian, the province directly opposite Taiwan.

At a regular media briefing in Beijing, Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, did not respond to a question about how long the exercises would be. He said the government was conducting “normal military exercises” in an “open, transparent and professional” manner, in line with domestic and international law.

He said the exercise was a “warning to provocateurs”, describing China’s response as a “justification” to protect China’s territorial integrity.

While tensions have peaked since the last Taiwan Strait crisis in the 1990s, when the People’s Liberation Army launched missiles that landed near Taiwan, the odds of a military confrontation remain low.

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan heralds a new phase of China’s pressure campaign

Beijing has shown some restraint and a desire to avoid direct conflict with the United States. The plans for the exercises – due to take place after Pelosi’s departure – covered areas within the 12-nautical-mile coastal region that Taiwan claims as its territorial waters. But Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that no Chinese military aircraft had yet crossed the island’s territory.

The exercises had little impact on daily life in Taiwan, as residents became accustomed to near-daily reports of Chinese military incursions. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it had spotted 10 warships and 45 PLA warplanes, including 16 that crossed the center line on Tuesday.

A poll released Monday by the China Society for Public Opinion Research, a group in Taiwan, showed that more than 60 percent of about 1,000 people surveyed between August 3. 3 and 5 were not worried that cross-strait tensions might lead to military conflict. About 54 percent said they believed Pelosi’s visit was beneficial to US-Taiwan relations.

Asked if there is real concern in the Taiwanese government that Beijing is preparing for an invasion, Wu said his country is “very concerned.”

“But at the same time, we keep our cool,” he said. “We remain resilient. The best way to deal with a regime that is trying to intimidate us is to show that we are not afraid. We are not afraid of China.”

Bi Lin Wu contributed to this report.

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