Tuesday, in the midst of China’s ongoing military manoeuvres around the island, Taiwan began scheduled live-fire artillery drills.
The Tien Lei drill, a live ammunition artillery exercise, was planned to mimic Taiwan’s defence against an attack by the People’s Liberation Army of China. It was announced in late July.
It was scheduled as a part of Taiwan’s annual Han Kuang exercises and will occur this week on Tuesday and Thursday.
The timing of this comes in the midst of rising tensions and shortly after China announced it would continue extensive air and sea drills to the north, south-west, and east of Taiwan after they were scheduled to end on Sunday.
There is no updated formal end date available.
According to a Taiwanese television, flares were fired on Tuesday in coastal areas during the military exercise in Pingtung County in Taiwan’s south, near a zone previously designated by the Chinese army for its drill.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry condemned China’s extension of its manoeuvres near Taiwan.
“China’s real intention behind these military exercises is to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and the entire region,” Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu told a news conference on Tuesday in Taipei.
Wu said China’s large-scale military exercises, missile launches and cyberattacks were all part of Beijing’s “military playbook to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan.”
He said they were strategies to “weaken public morale” on the island.