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Taiwan slams China over military incursions

September 23, 2020

President Tsai Ing-wen and the foreign minister slammed China for conducting provocative military exercises. Tsai, visiting a military base, said she wouldn't let other countries 'show off' in Taiwanese airspace.

President Tsai Ing-wen speaks infront of a fighter jet
Image: Sam Yeh/AFP

During a visit to an airbase in the Taiwan Strait, leader Tsai Ing-wen condemned China for its recent military incursions into Taiwanese territory.

"How can we let others show off in our territorial airspace?" President Tsai asked on Tuesday.

"Our men and women in uniform have the will and ability to defend Taiwan and are not intimidated by the PRC's [People's Republic of China] intrusions in our airspace. We are dedicated to maintaining peace and stability in the region," added Tsai in a tweet.

China began military exercises near the Taiwan Strait on Friday last week, coinciding with a senior US diplomat's three-day visit to Taiwan's capital city, Taipei.

In recent days, Chinese fighters and bombers crossed the midpoint of the Taiwan Strait that divides China and Taiwan four times, forcing Taiwan to scramble fighter jets, allege Taiwan's military.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory, despite the island governing itself since 1949. China dislikes foreign countries maintaining diplomatic relations with Taiwan as an independent state.

Speaking at the airbase on the Penghu islands that are situated in the 160-kilometer-wide (99.5 miles) strait, Tsai said she has confidence in the air force's determination to protect the nation's airspace.

Taiwan: China's next target?

China 'must back off'

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin called the Taiwan region an inalienable part of China's territory on Monday, and said the so-called "median line" — referring to the strait's midpoint between China and Taiwan — does not exist, according to China's state-run Xinhua News.

On Tuesday, Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu condemned the claim from Beijing. Wu said Beijing's comment serves to "undermine the status quo in the Taiwan Strait," Taiwan's state-run Central News Agency reported.

"I call on the international community to condemn the CCP for its dangerous and provocative words and deeds threatening peace... China must back off," he added in a tweet.

Read more: Taiwan: The threat that the world ignores

kmm/aw (dpa, AFP, Reuters)