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“Irrational provocations”: Taiwan condemns Chinese army exercises, vows vigilance amid rising tensions

A Taiwan Air Force C-130 aircraft lands at Hsinchu Air Base in Hsinchu (Photo: Reuters)

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence (MND) issued stern condemnations of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) exercises near Taiwan, denouncing them as “irrational provocations” jeopardising regional peace and stability.

The MND rebuked the PLA’s announcement of the “Joint Sword-2024A” military exercise in the sea and airspace surrounding Taiwan. The ministry labelled these actions as undermining regional stability and promptly dispatched naval, air, and ground forces to respond, emphasising the defence of Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy.

Highlighting China’s persistent military harassment, the MND underscored the disruption caused to global peace and stability. It criticised Beijing’s exercises as reflective of its “hegemonic nature” and reiterated Taiwan’s readiness to defend itself while expressing a commitment to peace, as reported by Focus Taiwan.

Emphasising preparedness, the MND reiterated its principle of “preparing for war, not asking for war, responding to war, and not avoiding war.” It assured the public of the armed forces’ capability, determination, and confidence in safeguarding national security.

Calling for unity, the ministry urged citizens to provide unwavering support and solidarity during these tense times in the Taiwan Strait. It emphasised the importance of collaboration between the military and civilians to jointly safeguard Taiwan’s homeland.

In response to escalating tensions, the MND announced close monitoring of Chinese military activities around Taiwan. Ground forces intensified regional joint defence and military base security, while air defence and coastal missile units remained on high alert.

The MND’s statements reflect Taiwan’s firm stance in the face of increasing PLA pressure, reaffirming its commitment to defending its sovereignty and ensuring peace and stability in the region, Focus Taiwan also reported.

The Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began joint military drills surrounding Taiwan on Thursday at 7:45 am (local time), according to Chinese state media report.

The Chinese army has been conducting drills in the Taiwan Strait, the north, south, and east of Taiwan Island, and areas around the islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin.

Theatre Command spokesperson Li Xi said military services, including the army, navy, air force, and rocket force of the theatre command, are being organised to carry out the joint drills, code-named Joint Sword-2024A, from Thursday to Friday.

Li said that the drills focus on joint seizure of comprehensive battlefield control, joint sea-air combat readiness patrol, and joint precision strikes on key targets. He further said that the exercise included the patrol of vessels and planes closing in on areas around Taiwan and integrated operations in and outside the island chain to test the joint real combat capabilities of the forces under the command.

The spokesperson stressed the drills also serve as a strong punishment for the separatist acts of “Taiwan independence” forces and a stern warning against interference and provocation by external forces, Xinhua reported.