TAIWAN: On Wednesday, Taiwan boldly announced its plans to exercise its sovereignty by defending and launching a harsh “counter-attack” if Chinese armed forces penetrated Taiwanese territory, as Beijing increased military operations near the democratic island.
Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of mainland China despite strong objections from Taipei, has held military exercises near the Taiwan Strait in response to the irksome visit of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei last month.
Taiwanese defence officials said China’s “high intensity” military drills continued. Moreover, Beijing’s intentions of occupying the Taiwan Strait, which divides the nations, and making it an “inner sea” would become the ultimate source of instability in the region.
“For aircraft and ships that entered our sea and air territory of 12 nautical miles, the national army will exercise the right to self-defence and counter attack without exception,” Lin Wen-Huang, deputy chief of the general staff for operations and planning, told reporters at a news briefing.
Taiwan has repeatedly complained about Chinese drones doing the rounds close to its small group of islands near China’s coast.
Lin added saying that the military reserves the right to “counter-attack” Chinese drones that did not heed warnings to leave its territory after posing threats.
Backed by a steadfast leader who refuses to back down before Chinese bullying, the Taiwanese military has been instrumental in sending a clear message of countermeasure against Chinese threats.
Taiwan fired warning shots at a Chinese drone for the first time on Tuesday shortly after President Tsai Ing-wen commanded the military to take “strong countermeasures” against “Chinese provocations”.
Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry this week dismissed complaints about drone harassment as “not worth fussing about”. This provoked Taipei, who labelled Beijing as thieves and bullies.
In the same briefing, Ma Cheng-Kun, a director from the military academy National Defence University, notified that China might prohibit the passage of foreign naval ships through the Strait without its 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,” he said.
US warships and those from allied nations like the UK and Canada have routinely sailed through the Strait in recent years, including two US Navy warships last week.
Despite Taiwan’s bold defence, its military, naval forces, as well as armaments, fall flat in front of China’s advanced technology. Tsai is intent on elevating Taiwan’s military by increasing defence spending and launching a modernisation programme.