Taiwan said on Wednesday that it will use its right to self-defense and “counter-attack” if Chinese armed troops breached its territory. This comes as Beijing has boosted its military actions near the democratic island.
Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own despite strong protests from the government in Taipei, has staged military drills surrounding the island this month in response to a visit to Taipei by the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America, Nancy Pelosi.
According to authorities from Taiwan’s defence ministry, China’s “high intensity” military patrols continued to be conducted near Taiwan, and Beijing’s desire to make the Taiwan Strait, which separates the two sides, its “inner sea” would become the primary cause of instability in the area.
“The national army will exercise right to self-defence and counter attack without exception,” Lin Wen-Huang, deputy chief of the general staff for operations and planning, said to reporters during a news briefing.
Taiwan has expressed concern about the frequency with which Chinese drones have flown in close proximity to the tiny island groupings it controls along China’s coast.
According to Lin, the military would use the same authority to “counter-attack” Chinese drones that did not heed instructions to leave its territory after presenting threats if they continue to violate its airspace.
After President Tsai Ing-wen issued an order for the military of Taiwan to take “strong countermeasures” against what she dubbed Chinese “provocations,” Taiwan fired warning shots at a Chinese drone for the first time on Tuesday.
Taiwan’s accusations about drone harassment were ignored by China’s Foreign Ministry this week as “not worth fretting over,” causing Taiwan to characterise Beijing as little more than thieves.
During the same conference, a director from the military institution National Defense University named Ma Cheng-Kun said that China may take more action to refuse passage of foreign navy ships via the strait without its consent.
“After the new military normal status has been entrenched, then the danger of collision will grow if foreign navy ships insist on the rights of navigation and freedom,” he added.
In recent years, it has been common practise for warships from the United States and ally countries such as Britain and Canada to pass through the strait. Two warships from the United States Navy passed through the strait only last week.
Even though they are well-equipped, Taiwan’s military forces are nevertheless outclassed by China’s. Tsai is in charge of a modernization programme and has made it a priority to raise the amount of money spent on the military.
China has not ruled out the possibility of using force in order to gain control of the island. In response to Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over Taiwan, Taipei has said that the People’s Republic of China has never had administrative control over the island and that only the people of Taiwan have the authority to determine the island’s political destiny.