According to its own statements, the Chinese military has carried out “attack exercises” in the sea and airspace around Taiwan in response to what they claim to be provocations by the democratically ruled island and the United States.
Taiwan, which claims China for its own territory, said Sunday’s exercises showed that Beijing was attacking regional peace and trying to intimidate the Taiwanese people.
China staged war games around Taiwan in August following a visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and on Saturday it condemned the US for a new defense authorization bill that boosts military support for Taiwan.
In a brief statement, the Chinese Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said it had carried out “joint combat readiness patrols and joint firearms exercises” around Taiwan. The exact location was not given.
“This is a decisive response to the recent escalation of collusion and provocations by the United States and Taiwan,” it said, without giving details.
“The armed forces will take all necessary measures to resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she added.
The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense said China’s action “once again underlines its mentality of resolving differences by force and destroying peace and stability in the region.”
“The Chinese communists’ ‘military intimidation” is obviously aimed at intimidating our people and is not conducive to [China’s] international image,” it said, adding that Taiwan would continue to strengthen its military.
Taiwan has complained about repeated Chinese military activity near the island over the past three years as Beijing tries to pressure Taipei to accept Chinese sovereignty.
The US is Taiwan’s most important international supporter and arms supplier, although there are no formal diplomatic relations. US arms sales to Taiwan are a constant nuisance in Beijing’s relations with Washington.
Taiwan’s military is overshadowed by that of its huge neighbor. The Air Force in particular has come under pressure because it repeatedly had to repel Chinese incursions near the island.
The Chinese exercises coincided with the inauguration of newly elected mayors and district leaders in Taiwan after the ruling Democratic Progressive Party was defeated last month.
China has never refrained from taking Taiwan under its control by force.
Taiwan strongly denies China’s claims to the island and states that only 23 million people can decide its future.