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Taiwan’s foreign minister on Tuesday warned China is using its aggressive military drills around the island as part of a broader plan for what it fears is an impending invasion.
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters in Taipei that Taiwan will not be intimidated by China’s aggression but said, “China has used the drills in its military play-book to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan.”
“It is conducting large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyber-attacks, disinformation, and economic coercion, in an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan,” first reported Reuters. “After the drills conclude, China may try to routinize its action in an attempt to wreck the long-term status quo across the Taiwan Strait.”
Wu did not offer up a timeline on when Taipei thinks Beijing could officially order troops to invade the island, though some reporting has suggested it could happen by 2024 as China and the U.S. prepare for elections.
However, the Pentagon does not agree with this assessment, and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl told reporters Monday that Beijing is “trying to coerce the international community.”
“We’re not going to take the bait, and it’s not going to work. It’s a manufactured crisis that that doesn’t mean we have to play into that,” he added. “What we’ll do instead is to continue to fly, to sail and to operate wherever international law allows us to do so.”
Beijing first crossed the unofficial border that separates Taiwan from mainland China when it launched a series of military drills following a controversial visit to Taipei from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Chinese authorities suggested her visit was an attempt by the U.S. to push for Taiwanese independence and launched ballistic missile tests along with simulated sea and air attacks around Taiwan.
Pelosi and the White House have maintained that her visit was not an attempt to change the status quo in the region and signified Washington’s support for democracies worldwide.
China on Monday said it would conduct anti-submarine and sea assault operations around Taiwan – adding to international fears that China will continue to pressure Taipei’s defenses.
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