October 3, 2022

Taiwan’s foreign minister says China is using drills to prepare for invasion

TAIPEI, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Taiwan’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that China’s military drills to protest a visit by U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi were a pretext to prepare for an invasion of the self-ruled island.

Joseph Wu told a press conference in Taipei that Taiwan, which is claimed by China, is not afraid of continuing exercises as China frequently violates the unofficial demarcation line in the Taiwan Strait.

“China used drills to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan,” Wu said, urging international support to preserve “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

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“It conducts large-scale military exercises, missile launches and cyber attacks, disinformation campaigns and economic coercion in an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan.”

Wu spoke as military tensions eased after the planned end on Sunday of four days of massive Chinese exercises around the island.

China’s Eastern Theater Command announced Monday it will hold new joint exercises focusing on anti-submarine and maritime attack operations — confirming fears by some defense analysts and diplomats that Beijing will continue to ratchet up pressure on Taiwan’s defenses.

Since Pelosi left the region last Friday, China has also dropped some communications with the United States, including theater-level military talks and discussions on climate change.

Taiwan began its own long-planned drills on Tuesday, firing howitzer cannons into the sea in the southern district of Pingtung.

US President Joe Biden, in his first public comments on the issue since Pelosi’s visit, said Monday that he was concerned about China’s actions in the region but not about Taiwan. read more

“I’m concerned that they’re moving as far as they are,” Biden told reporters in Delaware, referring to China. “But I don’t think they’re going to do anything more than them.”

A senior Pentagon official said Washington is sticking to its earlier assessment that Beijing would not attempt to invade Taiwan in the next two years.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Call also said the US military would continue to conduct cruises through the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks.

China has never ruled out occupying Taiwan by force, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Monday, adding that China conducts normal military exercises “in our waters” in an open, transparent and professional manner, adding that Taiwan is part of China.

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Reporting by Sarah Wu and Yimo Lee in Taipei; Written by Greg Dorodt, Cinematography by Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.