Taipei accuses China of “blatant provocation” following military drills around Taiwan

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25th May 2024 – (Taipei) In a statement issued on Saturday, Taipei condemned China’s two-day military exercises encircling Taiwan, referring to them as a “blatant provocation to the international order.” The drills concluded shortly after Taiwan’s President, William Lai Ching-te, assumed office and delivered an inauguration speech that China deemed a “confession of independence.”

China, which considers Taiwan as part of its territory, perceives President Lai as a “dangerous separatist.” State-run military news channel CCTV-7 reported that the Chinese army had successfully completed the operation named “Joint Sword-2024A” by Friday evening.

Karen Kuo, spokesperson for President Lai, reiterated in a statement that maintaining peace and stability in the region was in the common interest of the international community. She further expressed concern and condemnation from the international community in response to China’s unilateral provocation, stating that it undermined the existing peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and challenged the international order.

Kuo emphasized Taiwan’s hope that China would consider the safety and well-being of people on both sides, seek mutual benefit and coexistence, and cease all forms of political and military intimidation directed at Taiwan and the region.

While Taiwan operates with its own democratically elected government, military, and currency, Beijing has consistently refused to renounce the potential use of force to bring the island under its control.

Chinese military analysts, as reported by state news agency Xinhua, noted that People’s Liberation Army vessels had approached Taiwan’s shores closer than ever during the two-day military drills. The exercises involved simulating strikes on the island’s leaders, ports, and airports.

Regarding China’s military actions, Kuo assured the public that the president and the national security team were fully aware of the situation and urged them to remain reassured.

China’s defence ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

The recent military exercises were initiated as a response to President Lai’s inauguration speech, in which he expressed that Taiwan and the mainland were not subordinate to each other. Beijing perceived this as a declaration of the two entities being separate countries.

Despite repeated offers for talks from Lai, China has rejected the proposals, asserting that only the people of Taiwan can determine their future and rejecting Beijing’s sovereignty claims. Taiwan’s government has denounced the drills and vowed not to yield to Chinese pressure.

On Friday, Taiwan’s defense ministry reported that 46 Chinese military planes crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, previously an unofficial barrier between the two sides. The ministry detected a total of 62 Chinese aircraft and 27 navy ships. The aircraft included advanced Su-30 fighters and nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, which flew through the strait and into the Bashi Channel separating Taiwan and the Philippines.

The People’s Liberation Army Daily, recognized as the military’s official voice, published a commentary accusing Lai of being a pawn for external forces seeking to hinder China’s development. It warned that if Taiwan independence forces persisted or took risks, the PLA would obediently take decisive action to crush all separatist plots.