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HomeWorldTaiwan vows counterattack if Chinese forces enter its territory

Taiwan vows counterattack if Chinese forces enter its territory

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Taiwan has complained that Chinese drones are repeatedly flying near its small archipelagos.

Taipei:

Taiwan said Wednesday it would exercise its right to self-defense and counterattack if Chinese forces entered its territory as Beijing stepped up military activity near the democratically-ruled island.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan over strong objections from the Taipei government, held island-wide military drills this month in response to a visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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

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

Taiwan has complained about Chinese drones repeatedly flying near its small island clusters off China’s coast.

The military will exercise the same right to target 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 Chinese provocations.

Taiwan’s army said its forces on Wednesday again fired warning shots and flares at drones circling small islands in its Kinmen chain, which are just off the coast of the Chinese cities of Xiamen and Quanzhou.

The drones then flew back to Xiamen, it said.

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

“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 playing up their nervousness, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

Earlier in the week, the ministry dismissed complaints from Taiwan about drone harassment as “not worth mentioning.”

In the same briefing, Ma Cheng-kun, a director of the Military Academy of the National Defense University, said China may take further steps to deny the passage of foreign naval vessels through the straits without its permission.

“After the new military normality is established, the risk of collision will increase when foreign naval vessels insist on the right to navigate and freedom,” he said.

US warships and those from allied nations like Britain and Canada have routinely sailed through the Taiwan Strait in recent years, including two US Navy warships last week.

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

China has not ruled out using force to take control of the island. Taipei has rejected Beijing’s claims of sovereignty, saying the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island and only Taiwan’s people can decide its future.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by TOI.News staff and was published by a syndicated feed.)

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