Taiwan today vowed to ‘counterattack’ if Chinese warships and warplanes enter its territory, following Beijing’s massive military drills around the island.
The democratic, self-governing island lives under constant threat of invasion by China, which claims it as part of its territory to be seized one day – by force if necessary.
On Wednesday, defense officials said Taiwan would exercise its right to self-defense if Beijing decided to act against the island.
Taipei’s willingness to retaliate appeared to have been demonstrated a day earlier, when the Taiwanese military fired warning shots at Chinese drones hovering over its outposts just off the Chinese coast.
Taiwanese forces said in a statement that troops took action on Tuesday after drones were found hovering over the Kinmen island group.
Wednesday’s statement referred to unmanned aerial vehicles as “civilian use” but gave no other details. He said the drones returned to the nearby Chinese city of Xiamen after the shootings.
Taiwan previously only fired flares as a warning.
Taiwan today vowed to ‘counterattack’ if Chinese warships and warplanes enter its territory, following Beijing’s massive military drills around the island. Pictured: Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (left) poses next to air force pilots, August 30
Tensions in the Taiwan Strait have reached their highest level in decades after China staged an unprecedented show of force in retaliation for US President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei earlier this month.
For a week after Pelosi’s visit, China sent warships, missiles and fighter jets into the waters and skies around Taiwan, condemning drills and missile tests as preparation for a invasion.
Asked about Taiwan’s reaction if Chinese warplanes and warships enter its airspace and territorial waters, a defense official said that “the closer the incursions are to Taiwan, the stronger our countermeasures will be.” strong”.
“We will use naval and air forces and shore fire to push back the PLA (Chinese People’s Liberation Army) forces that enter our 24- or 12-nautical-mile zones,” Major General Lin Wen- huang, director of operations and planning division.
“When the PLA planes and ships are within our 12-nautical-mile territorial sea and airspace, we will act in accordance with operational orders to exercise the right of self-defense to counterattack,” he said. during an online press briefing. .
Lin also said Taiwan would “strike back” when asked to comment on China’s recent spate of drone sorties to the Taiwanese islands of Kinmen and Matsu.
Taiwan maintains control over a series of islands in the Kinmen and Matsu groups in the Taiwan Strait, a relic of Chiang Kai-shek nationalists’ effort to maintain a foothold on the mainland after they were driven out by Communists from Mao Zedong in the midst of civil war in 1949.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said China’s actions had failed to intimidate the island’s 23 million people, saying they had only boosted support for the armed forces and the status quo de facto independence.
On Wednesday, defense officials said Taiwan would exercise its right to self-defense if Beijing decided to act against the island. Pictured: Military honor guards hold a morning Taiwan flag-raising ceremony in Taipei on August 30
Tensions in the Taiwan Strait have reached their highest level in decades after China staged an unprecedented show of force in retaliation for US President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei earlier this month. Pictured: Pelosi (left) alongside the Taiwanese president, August 3
On Tuesday, the Taiwanese military fired warning shots for the first time to fend off a Chinese drone that flew into a restricted area near Kinmen.
Drone incursions increased along with exercises in Beijing earlier this month, with some monitoring military outposts.
The military will determine “whether to engage the target and exercise the right of self-defense to counterattack,” if the drones do not depart after warnings, Lin said.
It is unclear who is flying the drones from the Chinese mainland.
Kinmen is only a few miles from the Chinese coast, meaning a civilian could fly a commercial drone that distance.
However, China has also stepped up so-called gray area tactics against Taiwan in recent years, including drone incursions.
“Grey zone” is a term used by military analysts to describe aggressive state actions that stop short of open warfare and can use civilians.
China has also stepped up warplane incursions into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone. Taiwan’s ADIZ is much larger than its airspace. It overlaps part of the Chinese ADIZ and even includes part of the mainland.
Navy personnel stand in front of a US-made missile on a frigate at a naval base in the Penghu Islands, Taiwan, August 30, 2022
Taiwan maintains control over a series of islands in the Kinmen and Matsu groups in the Taiwan Strait, a relic of Chiang Kai-shek nationalists’ effort to maintain a foothold on the mainland after they were driven out by Communists from Mao Zedong amid the civil war in 1949 Taiwan fired warning shots at drones flying over the islands on Tuesday
Officials said anti-drone defenses were being beefed up, part of a 12.9% increase in the Defense Department’s annual budget next year.
The government plans to spend an additional 47.5 billion New Taiwan dollars (£1.37 billion), for a total of NTD 415.1 billion (£11.9 billion) for the year.
The United States is also reportedly preparing to approve a £1billion defense package for Taiwan, which would include anti-ship and air-to-air missiles to be used in repelling a possible Chinese invasion attempt.
Following the Chinese drills, the United States sailed two warships through the Taiwan Strait, which China has sought to designate as its sovereign waters.
Foreign delegations from the United States, Japan and European countries continued to arrive to provide diplomatic and economic support to Taipei.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is currently visiting Taiwan to discuss the production of semiconductors, the essential chips used in everyday electronics that have become a battleground in tech competition between the United States and China.
Ducey is looking to woo suppliers for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp’s new £10.3 billion factory. (TSMC) under construction in its state.
Last week, the Indiana governor visited Taiwan on a similar mission.
Taiwan produces more than half of the world’s supply of high-end processor chips. China’s missile launches during its drills have disrupted sea and air traffic and highlighted the possibility of chip exports being halted.