As Beijing increased military exercises close to the democratic island, Taiwan declared on Wednesday that it would exercise its right to self-defense and launch a counterattack if Chinese forces entered its territory.
Beijing, which asserts Taiwan as its own despite the government in Taipei’s vehement protests, has held military drills throughout the island this month in retaliation for Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.
Taiwanese defence officials said China’s “high intensity” military patrols near Taiwan continued, and Beijing’s intention to make the Taiwan Strait separating the two sides its “inner sea” would become the main source of regional instability.
“For aircraft and ships that entered our sea and air territory of 12 nautical miles, the national army will exercise the right to self-defence and counter-attack without exception,” Lin Wen-Huang, deputy chief of the general staff for operations and planning, told reporters at a news briefing.
Chinese drones have repeatedly flown close to Taiwan’s small groups of islands near China’s coast, which has drawn complaints from Taiwan.
Lin continued by saying that the military would exercise the same right to retaliate against Chinese drones that had threatened its territory but had ignored orders to leave.
Taiwan fired warning shots at a Chinese drone for the first time on Tuesday, shortly after President Tsai Ing-wen ordered Taiwan’s military to take “strong countermeasures” against what she termed Chinese provocations.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, in a regular press briefing, reiterated China’s position that Taiwan belonged to it.
“Firstly I need to tell you, Taiwan is a province of China, it has no so-called defence ministry. The Taiwan authorities are playing up their nervousness, this is meaningless,” he said.