The 8th Taiwan Army Corps fire shells and flares as part of a defensive drill
The Taiwanese military deployed on Thursday new maneuvers with live fire after China, which continues its threats to take control of the island, culminated its largest military exercises around her.
Lou Woei-jye, spokesperson for the 8th Taiwan Army Corps, told AFP his forces fired shells and flares as part of a defensive drill on Thursday morning.
The exercise deployed in the southernmost part of the island, pingtung, It started at 0830 local time (0030 GMT) and lasted an hour, he said. On Tuesday he had already made another in the same place.
China reacted furiously to the trip to Taiwan by the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking American visit in decades to this self-governing island.
The Chinese army responded with several days of sea and air exercises around Taiwan that have brought tensions to their highest level in years.
Taiwan has accused China taking advantage of Pelosi’s visit to rehearse a possible invasion of the island.
The island’s army downplayed their military maneuvers and said that were scheduled in advance of those made by China.
“We have two objectives with the maneuvers, the first is to certify the adequate conditions of artillery and its maintenance, and the second is to confirm last year’s results,” added Lou.
The latest exercise comes after China announced the end of its exercises, noting that his forces have “successfully completed various tasks” in the Taiwan Strait.
In the same announcement, China said that will continue training military and preparing for war.
In a white paper published Wednesday Taiwan Affairs Office of the Chinese State Council, the authors assure that Beijing “will not renounce” the use of force “and reserves” the option to take all necessary measures “.
“We are ready to create a vast space for peaceful reunification, but we will leave no room for separatist activities of any kind,” the white paper states.
The last time China published a white paper on Taiwan was in 2000.
The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke on Thursday against the “one country, two systems” model that Beijing proposes for the island.
“The whole Chinese pronouncement it absolutely goes against the status quo (between China and Taiwan) and its reality,” spokeswoman for the ministry, Joanne Ou, told a press conference.
“China uses the visit of (…) Nancy Pelosi as an excuse to destroy the status quo and take the opportunity to make trouble, trying to create a new normal to intimidate the Taiwanese people,” he added.
“One country, two systems” is the model under which China promised give some autonomy to Hong Kong and Macau under his command.
Taiwan often holds military exercises in which simulates a defense against a Chinese invasion, and in July they rehearsed repelling a seaborne attack in a “joint interdiction operation.”
China and Taiwan have been de facto separated since 1949, when the communist forces of Mao Zedong prevailed in the Chinese civil war about the nationalist troops, who took refuge on the island.
Since the 1990s, Taiwan went from being an autocracy to a well-established democracy and has seen the emergence of a particular Taiwanese identity.
The relations between the two parties have deteriorated since 2016, when current President Tsai Ing-wen, whose Democratic Progressive Party does not consider Taiwan to be part of China, came to power.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.