Taiwan threatens Beijing with ‘counterattack’
Taiwan has vowed to launch a forceful “counterattack” and “destroy enemy forces” in the event of an incursion by the Chinese military, as tensions continue to soar between Beijing and Taipei following a high-level visit by US officials to the island.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Taiwanese military officials outlined alleged “threats from the People’s Republic of China” and discussed a series of “large-scale exercises” carried out by the Chinese military earlier in August following a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other officials.
“Some of the live-fire drills overlapped our country’s territorial seas… and endangered international waterways,” Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Sun Li-fang said, claiming that the exercises threatened the “international order.”
The Taiwanese military operations and planning chief, Major General Lin Wen-huang, went on to say that the island reserves the right to respond in force if the People’s Liberation Army breaches its airspace or waters.
“For PLA aircraft and warships that entered our territorial sea and airspace within 12 nautical miles, our armed forces will exercise the right to self-defense and counterattack,” he told reporters.
“Our stance is that the closer the incursions are to Taiwan – the stronger our counter-measures will be,” he added, vowing to gradually deploy “naval and air forces, and coastal fire” to dispel the invading Chinese forces if they enter the 24 and 12 nautical mile zones claimed by Taiwan.
If Beijing decides to launch an amphibious assault, “we will use the geographical advantage of the Taiwan strait, and use our forces to stop enemy from launching, strike enemy while transiting, damage enemy while mending, and destroy enemy at beach,” the Taiwanese military official added.
Beijing, for its part, accused the island of hyping up a non-existent threat, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stating that there is “no point for the Taiwan authorities to exaggerate the tense atmosphere.”
China’s Foreign Ministry also weighed in on relations with the US on Wednesday, saying that ceasing contacts with Taiwanese officials was an “an indispensable condition” for resuming cooperation on various issues.
“The US side should dispel the negative influence of Pelosi scuttling to Taiwan,” the ministry said in a statement.
Taiwan has repeatedly warned of a potential Chinese attack over the years, as Beijing considers the island part of its own territory and insists foreign countries must not maintain bilateral ties with Taipei under the One-China principle. While Beijing carried out a flurry of unprecedented exercises in the wake of Pelosi’s visit, it has previously denied any intention of reclaiming Taiwan by force, insisting that a peaceful reunification is “inevitable.”