TAIWAN: Recurrent instances of Chinese military drills around the Taiwan Strait have resulted in Taiwan’s military ramping up their combat efforts to fend off such serious threats.
On Tuesday, Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen applauded the military’s improved combat skills, which are now much “more mature” to counteract China’s forces in and around the Strait.
China unleashed a string of several repeated military drills around the Taiwan Strait as a fiery response in the aftermath of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last month.
Irked by what it perceived as US interference in internal matters, Beijing staged military drills near the Strait to fortify its superiority over the democratically-governed island nation.
Chinese military exercises close to Taiwan have continued since then.
President Tsai appeared at the Hualien air base on Taiwan’s east coast and spoke to air force personnel, highlighting the tense situation and fear of threats around the Strait zone.
“In the face of challenges, our national military has calmly responded to the enemy’s intents at the intrusion and have tenaciously defended the country’s security,” she said, according to a transcript of the remarks released by the presidential office.
“I believe that after this period of combat readiness missions, our national military’s combat skills are more mature, and its combat power is more powerful.”
Tsai added that she was “extremely proud” of the armed forces.
The Hualien base has hangers cut out of the side of a mountain and is home to Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-16s.
Taiwan’s armed forces are mobilized and fully equipped to attack and defend but remain dwarfed by China’s military prowess.
Recently, Tsai oversaw a modernization program and has made increasing defence spending a top national priority.
The theme for this year’s October 10 national holiday has been set as defence by the prez, with the slogan, “You and me join together to protect the land and defend the country”, organizers said on Tuesday.
Tsai is all set to oversee a grand military parade that day and deliver a keynote speech.
Taiwan, as an island nation, retains the right to govern itself autonomously and democratically, citing historical proof of no prior Chinese rule over the land.
On the contrary, China has long maintained that Taiwan is part of its mainland and has launched several military missions around the nation to scare it into submission.
Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei reaffirmed US solidarity with Taiwan’s sovereignty, enraging Beijing’s attitude towards the Western superpower.
President Tsai has consistently reminded her people and the international community that Taiwan will not surrender to Chinese bullying, and is hence ramping up military operations and resources, with US backing, to defend itself.
Meanwhile, China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.
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