Chinese military exercises earlier this week were aimed at threatening Taiwan ahead of today’s presidential inauguration, Ministry of National Defense officials told legislators yesterday, adding that the armed forces are ready to defend the nation.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator (DPP) Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) questioned the ministry’s response on Tuesday, when it said that war games conducted by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) 31st Group Army based in Fujian Province were “routine exercises, which are conducted annually.”
The ministry is “fully aware of it and is constantly monitoring it,” it added.
Photo: CCTV via AP Video
Not satisfied with the response, DPP lawmakers questioned ministry officials at yesterday’s meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.
“I do not believe it is merely a routine exercise by the PLA. They conducted large-scale war games with live-fire weapons and amphibious landings at a southeast coastal area near Taiwan,” Tsai said. “China is doing it this week and broadcasting it on state media for the world to see, just before our presidential inauguration ceremony. Is this routine or just a coincidence? I do not think so.”
Ministry officials said that the PLA war games were likely aimed at sending a political message to Taiwan and to put pressure on president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to acknowledge the “one China” principle and the so-called “1992 consensus” in her inaugural address.
Vice Minister of National Defense Hsu Pei-shan (許培山) said China has persisted in its military threats and missile deployment against Taiwan, and has shown no signs of letting up.
Tsai Shih-ying asked the ministry if the nation’s troops are ready for the incoming administration and if they are prepared to defend Taiwan in case of war.
He added that there are rumors that some military officials and their units are troubled by the prospect of a female commander-in-chief and do not want to take orders from the new president.
Hsu said there is no such problem.
“The armed forces are loyal to our nation, no matter which political party holds power. We obey the laws of the nation and will serve the new president, who is the highest civilian leader of our country as elected by the people,” he said.
DPP legislators asked the ministry to use its internal media outlets to disseminate this message to all military troops pledging allegiance to the president and the nation.
Hsu and other defense officials said that after today’s inauguration, all photographs of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would be taken down in military offices and replaced by photographs of Tsai Ying-wen over the next few days.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly