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Taiwan’s foreign minister warned on Tuesday that China is using its offensive military drills around the island as part of a broader plan to fear an imminent invasion.
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters in Taipei that Taiwan is not afraid of a Chinese invasion but said that “China has used drills in its military playbook to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan.”
“It has been conducting large-scale military exercises and missile launches in Taiwan in an attempt to undermine public morale, as well as cyber-attacks, disinformation and economic coercion,” Reuters first reported. “After the drills conclude, China may try to normalize its move in an attempt to undermine the long-standing status quo across the Taiwan Strait.”
China to step up military exercises around Taiwan after island hosts foreign leaders
Wu did not give a timeline for when Taipei thought Beijing could officially order troops to occupy the island, though some reports suggested it could happen as early as 2024 as China and the US prepare for elections.
However, the Pentagon disagrees with this assessment and the policy of Under Secretary of Defense Dr. Colin Kahl told reporters on Monday that Beijing was “trying to pressure the international community”.
“We’re not going to take the bait, and it’s not going to work. This manufactured crisis doesn’t mean we have to play into it,” he said. “What we do instead is fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows us to do so.”
Taiwan ambassador: Beijing ‘manufacturing’ crisis, China prepares invasion forces ‘for some time’
Beijing crossed the unofficial border separating Taiwan from mainland China for the first time since a controversial visit to Taipei by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Chinese officials have signaled her visit as a US push for Taiwan independence, and have launched ballistic missile tests in addition to simulating sea and air strikes around Taiwan.
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Pelosi and the White House have maintained that her visit was not an attempt to change the status quo in the region and signaled Washington’s support for democracies worldwide.
China said on Monday it would conduct anti-submarine and maritime attack operations around Taiwan – adding to international fears that China would continue to press for Taipei’s defenses.