The Army of Taiwan started this Tuesday defense drill, with live firegiven the latent possibility of an invasion by Chinaa nation that for the sixth consecutive day carried out military exercises around the island, in response to the visit of the president of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
Lou Woei-jye, a spokesman for the Eighth Taiwan Army Corps, confirmed that the exercises began in the southern county of Pingtung shortly after 8:40 a.m. (local time) with the firing of flares and artillery, and which lasted for just under an hour. As the last battery of shots had been fired, Taiwanese soldiers could be heard shouting “mission accomplished.”
The Taiwanese exercises will also take place on Thursday and will include the deployment of hundreds of troops and some 40 howitzers, the army said. In any case, Lou assured that the exercises had already been programmed and were not a response to China’s maneuvers. In fact, he assured that the exercise area does not “overlap at all” with the one used in the previous days by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA, the Chinese Army).
The island, with a democratic government, routinely holds mock Chinese invasions. Last month, for instance, he practiced repelling attacks by sea during his biggest annual exercises.
Taiwan launched a live-fire defense drill to test its defenses in the event of a Chinese invasion. Photo REUTERS/Ann Wang.
In response to these recent PLA military exercises, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Wu Zhaoxie said at a press conference on Tuesday that they are “a unreasonable provocation” and that Pelosi’s trip “is just an excuse for China”.
“China is trying to turn the Taiwan Strait into an inland sea, denying the status quo that it is an international waterway, affecting the international community’s right to freedom of navigation,” the Taiwanese diplomat added.
Meanwhile, he called on all countries that “love freedom and democracy” to work together and jointly discuss how to deal with “China’s actions and methods against Taiwan.”
“China conducts large-scale military exercises and launches missiles, as well as cyberattacks, a disinformation campaign and economic coercion to weaken public morals in TaiwanWu warned.
In Taiwan, they consider that Pelosi’s trip was “just an excuse for China.” Photo Sam Yeh / AFP.
For its part, the Chinese Army prolonged the military maneuvers that it carries out around Taiwan since last Thursday. Although they were initially scheduled to conclude last Sunday, they have already been extended two more days than stipulated.
In a statement published on the Weibo social network -equivalent to Twitter, which is censored in China-, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) indicated that “it will continue to organize joint combat-oriented maneuvers by sea and air”, focusing this Tuesday on ” joint containment and security operations.
The first days of maneuvers
The first four days of maneuvers were extended to six zones around the island, in which air and seaspace were closed, and included live fire and the launch of long-range missilessome of which fell into Japanese waters causing an official protest from the Japanese government.
The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense denounced in those days that numerous Chinese military ships and planes had crossed the middle line of the Strait of Formosa, which in practice is an unofficial border, but until now tacitly respected by Taipei and Beijing.
In reaction to China’s moves and in order to test its “combat readiness,” the self-ruled island has announced that it will hold military exercises tomorrow, Tuesday, and next Thursday in Pingtung County, including live artillery fire, according to the official Taiwanese agency CNA.
China, which called Pelosi’s visit a “farce” and “deplorable betrayal”, claims sovereignty over Taiwanan island that has been considered a rebel province since the Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949, after losing the civil war against the communists.
With information from agencies.