Taiwan has said it would exercise its right to self defence and “counter-attack” if Chinese armed forces entered its territory, even as Beijing increases its military activities near the democratic island.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory despite strong objections by the government in Taipei. Beijing has held several military exercises around the island this month in reaction to a visit to Taipei by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On Wednesday, August 31, Taiwanese defence officials said China’s “high intensity” military patrols near Taiwan were still ongoing and Beijing’s intention of making the Taiwan Strait separating the two sides its “inner sea” would be the main source of instability in the region.
“For aircraft and ships that entered our sea and air territory of 12 nautical miles, the national army will exercise 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.
The military will exercise the same right to “counter-attack” Chinese drones that did not heed warnings to leave its territory after posing threats, Lin added.
The warning comes after 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 this week dismissed complaints from Taiwan about drone harassment as “not worth fussing about”, prompting Taipei to label Beijing as nothing more than thieves.
China has not ruled out using force to bring the island under its control. Taipei rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims, saying that the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island and that only Taiwan’s people can decide their future.