Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace.
Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days.
“I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut around in our own airspace?” she said, implicitly rejecting Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin’s (汪文斌) comment on Monday that the median line of the Taiwan Strait does not exist, because ‘Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.”
“I’m aware that facing the provocative behavior of the communist planes that have encircled the island and damaged regional peace in recent days. Your duty at the front line of the airspace in Penghu must be even heavier,” Tsai told the members of the Tien Chu (天駒, Heavenly Colt) unit, who are stationed at Penghu Airport from April to September every year.
“Our men and women in uniform have the will & ability to defend #Taiwan & are not intimidated by #PRC intrusions in our airspace. We are dedicated to maintaining peace & stability in the region,” she later wrote in English on Twitter.
As of yesterday, a total of 43 Chinese air force planes have flown into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone since Wednesday last week, with some crossing over the median line of the Strait on Friday and Saturday, the Ministry of National Defense’s Web site showed.
“The CCP [Chinese Communist Party] claims there’s no median line of the #Taiwan Strait after #PLA [People’s Liberation Army] warplanes crossed it repeatedly. I call on the international community to condemn the CCP for its dangerous & provocative words & deeds threatening peace & the status quo. #China must back off!” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) wrote on Twitter yesterday.
His comment followed a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei on Monday that said Wang’s statement would sabotage the cross-strait “status quo,” just as Beijing had ruined Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” framework by imposing a National Security Law on the territory.
It called on Beijing to stop its blatant expansionism and urged the international community to condemn Beijing’s behavior.
In rejecting the median line, Beijing shows no regard for regional security, said Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), director of the Division of National Defense Resources and Industries at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research.
The median line, established by the US in the 1950s, created a buffer zone that has been tacitly recognized by Beijing for decades, he said.
The world must be told that China is unilaterally changing the cross-strait “status quo,” Su said.
He said that he considered the possibility of a cross-strait conflict to be low, as China provoking a military conflict would push Taiwan closer to other democratic nations.
Meanwhile, US Representative Ted Yoho on Monday said both Taiwan and the US need to be ready to confront the PLA.
“#Taiwan continues to prepare for the very real possibility of a Chinese PLA invasion by building up its defense posture. The US must be ready to come to the aid of our democratic partner by supporting the #TaiwanInvasionPreventionAct,” Yoho wrote on Twitter, referring to a bill that he introduced in July that would establish a limited authorization for a US president to use military force to protect Taiwan against an armed attack.
Additional reporting by Reuters
PALAU LAUNCHES: The source said that Taiwanese military personnel traveled to Palau, where a US brigade watched their work amid plans for a defense network The military last month participated in live-fire launches of MM-104F Patriot (PAC-3) missiles under US observation in an undisclosed location in Palau, a step forward in a US-led plan to create a joint defense missile system in the first island chain, a source said on condition of anonymity. The PAC-3 is the mainstay surface-to-air missile of the US, NATO and democratic nations in East Asia, the source said, adding that it has never been live-tested within Taiwan’s borders, the source said. The proximity of Taiwan to China and China’s close surveillance of the nation’s borders and nearby sea zones is a significant
IN MOURNING: Tsai visited the site and spoke with family members of those killed, while all the major presidential candidates said they would temporarily halt campaigning A fire and subsequent explosions at a golf ball factory at Pingtung Technology Industrial Park (屏東科技產業園區) killed at least seven people, including four firefighters, and injured 98, while three were still missing, authorities said yesterday. The blaze at Launch Technologies Co’s (明揚國際) plant on Jingjian Road raged for more than 12 hours after it started at about 5pm on Friday, officials said. The Pingtung County Fire Bureau early yesterday used large excavators to search for missing people, while family members waited at the scene. Pingtung County Fire Bureau Director Hsu Mei-hsueh (許美雪) said the bureau received a call about the fire at 5:31pm
DETERRENCE: The president on Thursday is to launch the first indigenous submarine, which is to enter sea trials next month before being delivered to the navy next year Taiwan hopes to deploy at least two new, domestically developed submarines by 2027, and possibly equip later models with missiles to bolster its deterrence against the Chinese navy and protect key supply lines, the head of the program said. Taiwan has made the Indigenous Submarine Program a key part of an ambitious project to modernize its armed forces as Beijing stages almost daily military exercises. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who initiated the program when she took office in 2016, is expected to launch the first of eight new submarines on Thursday under a plan that has drawn on expertise and technology from
FISHING FUROR: The latest spat was sparked by a floating barrier that was found across the entrance of Scarborough Shoal during a resupply mission to fishers Beijing yesterday warned Manila not to “stir up trouble” after the Philippine Coast Guard said it removed a floating barrier at a disputed reef that was allegedly deployed by China to block Filipino fishers from the area. Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island, 黃岩島) in the South China Sea has long been a source of tension between the nations. China seized the ring of reefs from the Philippines in 2012 and has since deployed patrol boats. The latest spat was sparked by a 300m floating barrier that was found across the entrance of the shoal last week during a routine Philippine government resupply mission