Taiwan vows to counterattack if Chinese forces enter its territory

A Naval Force helicopter under the Eastern Theater Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) takes part in military drills in the waters around Taiwan at an undisclosed location on August 8, 2022 in this photo released on August 9, 2022. Eastern Theater Command/Handout via REUTERS

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TAIPEI, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Taiwan said on Wednesday it would exercise its right to self-defense and counterattack if Chinese armed forces enter its territory, as Beijing steps up military activity near the island democratically governed.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own against strong objections from the Taipei government, held military drills around the island this month in response to a visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Read more

Taiwanese defense officials said China’s “high-intensity” military patrols near Taiwan were continuing and that Beijing’s intention to make the Taiwan Strait separating the two shores its “inland sea” would become the main source of instability in the region.

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“For planes and ships that have entered our 12-nautical-mile sea and air territory, the national army will exercise its right of self-defense and counterattack without exception,” said Lin Wen-Huang, chief. of Taiwan’s deputy general staff for operations and planning, told reporters at a press briefing.

Taiwan has repeatedly complained about Chinese drones flying near its small island groups near the Chinese coast.

The military will exercise the same right to counterattack Chinese drones that have ignored warnings to leave Taiwanese territory after issuing threats, Lin added.

Taiwan fired warning shots at a Chinese drone for the first time on Tuesday shortly after President Tsai Ing-wen ordered the military to take “strong countermeasures” against what she called a Chinese provocations.

Taiwan’s military said its forces again fired warning shots and flares on Wednesday at islets buzzing with drones in its Kinmen Range, which are located just off the Chinese cities of Xiamen and Quanzhou.

The drones then returned to Xiamen, he added.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a regular press briefing reiterated Beijing’s position that Taiwan belongs to China.

“First of all, I have to tell you that Taiwan is a province of China, it doesn’t have a so-called Ministry of Defense. The Taiwanese authorities are exaggerating their nervousness, it makes no sense,” he said. he declared.

Earlier in the week, the ministry dismissed Taiwan’s complaints of drone harassment as “not worth fussing over”. Read more

In the same briefing, Ma Cheng-Kun, director of the National Defense University’s military academy, said China may continue to reject foreign warships passing through the strait without its permission.

“After the consolidation of the new normal military status, the risk of collision will increase if foreign warships insist on navigation and freedom rights,” he said.

US warships and those from allied countries such as Britain and Canada have regularly sailed through the Taiwan Strait in recent years, including two US Navy warships last week. Read more

Taiwan’s armed forces are well equipped but dwarfed by those of China. Tsai is overseeing a modernization program and has made increasing defense spending a priority.

China does not rule out using force to bring the island under its control. Taipei rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims, saying the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island and that only the Taiwanese people can decide its future.

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Reporting by Yimou Lee; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard and Eduardo Baptista in Beijing; Editing by Stephen Coates and Mark Heinrich

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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