Taiwan Condemns China’s ‘Irrational Provocations’ As PLA Conducts Drills Around Island

Taiwan’s government has strongly criticized China’s decision to conduct large-scale military drills around the island calling them “irrational provocations and actions that undermine regional peace and stability.” The exercises launched by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Thursday are set to last two days and involve the army navy air force and rocket force.

In a statement, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said it had dispatched sea air and ground forces in response to the drills. “We stand by with firm will and restraint. We seek no conflicts but we will not shy away from one. We have the confidence to safeguard our national security” the ministry said.

Taiwan’s presidential spokeswoman Karen Kuo called it regrettable to see China threatening Taiwan’s democracy and freedom and regional peace and stability with unilateral military provocations. “In the face of external challenges and threats we will continue to defend democracy and have the confidence and ability to protect national security” Kuo added.

The drills come just days after Taiwan swore in a new president Lai Ching-te who called on China to cease its intimidation of the island during his inauguration speech. Beijing denounced Lai’s speech with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi describing him as “disgraceful.”

China’s ruling Communist Party considers Taiwan part of its territory despite never having controlled it and has vowed to take the island by force if necessary. Analysts say the drills are designed to signal Beijing’s intentions internationally while also playing to a domestic audience. Chinese state media heavily promoted coverage of the exercises which trended on tightly controlled Chinese social media platforms.