Taiwan condemns China's military drills as 'irrational provocations'

Agence France-Presse
Taiwan condemns China's military drills as 'irrational provocations'
Honor guards raise Taiwan's flag on Democracy Boulevard at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei on May 23, 2024.
AFP / Yasuyoshi Chiba

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan condemned China on Thursday for launching two days of military drills around the self-ruled island, which Beijing called a "strong punishment" for "separatist acts".

The military exercise comes three days after Lai Ching-te was sworn in as the self-ruled island's new president.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has branded Lai a "dangerous separatist" who will bring "war and decline" to the island.

"The Ministry of National Defence strongly condemned such irrational provocations and actions that undermine regional peace and stability. We have dispatched sea, air and ground forces to respond ... to defend freedom, democracy and the sovereignty of the Republic of China," it said, referring to Taiwan by its official name.

It added that "all officers and soldiers of the armed forces are prepared".

"We uphold the strong will of 'preparing for war, not asking for war, responding to war, and not avoiding war'," it said, adding that it was "confident to ensure the security of our country".

Taipei's relations with Beijing have plunged in recent years as China has stepped up pressure on the democratic island, periodically stoking worries about a potential invasion.

Thursday and Friday's drills, code-named Joint Sword-2024A, will "focus on joint sea-air combat-readiness patrol, joint seizure of comprehensive battlefield control, and joint precision strikes on key targets", Xinhua reported.

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