Wednesday, September 27

Taiwan simulates with live fire how to defend itself against a Chinese invasion

Taiwanese soldiers fire shells during drills in Pingtung on Tuesday. / AFP

Pelosi defends her trip to the island and accuses Xi Jinping of acting like “a scared thug” by ordering Beijing’s biggest maneuvers

Not wanting to be intimidated by the largest military exercises in China’s history, the Taiwan Army flexed its muscle this Tuesday by simulating with live fire how to repel a possible invasion. With flares and artillery fire, Taipei troops practiced their response in southern Pingtung county before a crowd of onlookers watched. The tests further upset the Beijing regime, which on Monday began new maneuvers that have taken over from those carried out last week to show its fury at the visit of the spokeswoman for the United States Congress, Nancy Pelosi, to the island on last August 2.

“Any conspiracy aimed at bucking the historical trend and resisting reunification by means of arms will end in failure, like a mantis trying to stop a chariot,” Wang Wenbin, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, warned as the Taiwanese Armed Forces deployed hundreds of troops and about 40 howitzers.

Although the maneuvers have had an important meaning since they have constituted Taipei’s response after China rehearsed an invasion over the weekend that came to blockade the island, it was actually a scheduled action. Lou Woei-jye, a spokesman for the Eighth Taiwan Army Corps, explained that the exercises had been planned before the escalation of tensions in the Formosa Strait. Specifically, he pointed out, they were announced in July and the troops are scheduled to carry out a second day of drills tomorrow.

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The island, which has a democratic and self-governing government, routinely conducts Chinese invasion drills and last month had already practiced repelling attacks by sea during its biggest annual exercises. The Taipei authorities live in a state of permanent alert because they are aware that Beijing considers Taiwan just another province that it is willing to recover at some point by force, if necessary.

The counterattack against China did not come on Tuesday from the Taiwan side alone. From the United States, Nancy Pelosi, the third highest authority in the country, was just as forceful. In an interview on NBC and MSNBC, the congressional spokeswoman assured that her controversial trip to Taiwan “has been worth it” and accused the president of the Asian giant, Xi Jinping, of having reacted “like a frightened thug.” In her opinion, the fact that she ordered the People’s Liberation Army to carry out the greatest maneuvers in its history is nothing more than the result of “her own insecurities.” She likewise stressed that Xi, who aspires to a third term, is in a “fragile” position, with “problems” mainly in the economic field.

Biden criticizes the “fuss”

Despite the warlike actions of Beijing, which has also cut off its communication with Washington, the United States does not seem to fear a worsening of the situation. “I’m not worried, I’m worried that they’re making such a fuss. But I don’t think they’re going to do anything more than what they’re doing,” President Joe Biden said at Dover Air Force Base.

In China, meanwhile, the Armed Forces said that the maneuvers continued this Tuesday with air and sea units. The day before had been the turn of anti-submarine and amphibious assault operations. Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, at a press conference in Taipei, declared that both the launch of missiles and the recent cyberattacks are part of “Beijing’s military playbook to prepare for the invasion.” The objective, as he maintained, would be to try to “weaken public morals” on the island.

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