Taiwan’s air and sea forces conducted a drill to repel an invading force Thursday, while more than 3,000 soldiers took part in the live-fire drill in the southern counties of Pingtung.
Taiwan’s defense minister pledged to defend the self-ruled island against China’s rising military threat. The drills took place amidst what Taiwan says is increasing military intimidation from China.
“The military force of the Chinese Communist Party has continued to expand, without giving up the use of force to invade Taiwan,” Taiwan Defence Minister Yen Teh-fa told reporters while observing the drill.
Yen said it was Beijing’s intention to “destroy regional stability and cross-strait security”.
In the last few months, China’s military has staged extensive drills with warships, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft near the island, moves Taipei denounced as intimidation.
Beijing believes that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is going to pursue formal independence for the island, which the mainland has long warned would be crossing a red line.
Tsai repeatedly says she wants to maintain the status quo with China but will defend Taiwan’s security and democracy.
Taiwan broke away from the mainland in 1949, but Beijing still maintains that there is only “one China” and claims the island as its territory.
Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which include an escalating trade war and China’s muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols.