|Chinese PLA-Navy drills around Taiwan (Photo: Chinamil.com.cn)
Taipei: Terming China’s latest sabre-rattling as “exaggerated tricks”, Taiwan said that Beijing has boasted about the proximity of its military drills in Penghu islands, home of a major Taiwanese air force base, as an intimidation tactic toward Taipei, according to media reports.
Tensions were further inflamed on Sunday when another US congressional delegation travelled to Taiwan and amid this a social media post by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) showed footage of the Penghu islands suggesting that its jets were on Taiwan’s doorstep.
Tung Pei-lun, the Taiwanese Air Force’s vice chief of staff for operations, denied that the recent Chinese drills in the Taiwan Strait came near Penghu saying Beijing uses “cognitive warfare.”
All this transpired over the visit of US politicians to the self-governing island days after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan which irked China.
“China used the exaggerated tricks of cognitive warfare to show how close it was to Penghu, which is not true,” Tung said while speaking to the media personnel on Tuesday, reported Russia’s state-media RT.
The PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command (ETC), the unit responsible for the region that includes the Taiwan Strait, has held navy and air force drills around Taiwan as a show of force following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei earlier this month.
Amid the heightened tensions in the Taiwan Strait, the United States is planning to take steps in the coming weeks and months to counter China’s military and economic activity around Taiwan.
Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan this month triggered a new round of tensions in the region. Ever since the visit of the US delegation, Beijing launched large-scale military exercises in the vicinity of the island, which included live-fire drills and military aircraft overflights close to Taiwan’s airspace.
Addressing a press briefing on Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the US will continue to take steps that are resolute but also calm to uphold peace and stability in the face of Beijing’s ongoing efforts to undermine the status quo.
“These steps across a range of areas will unfold over the coming weeks and months because we recognize that this challenge is a long-term,” Price said during a press briefing.
He said the United States expects China to continue “military intimidation and coercive economic tactics” against Taiwan in the coming weeks. Price added that China has maintained a heightened military air and maritime posture around Taiwan despite the end of exercises.
Furthermore, the State Department spokesperson said any US moves to counter China’s activity around Taiwan will be consistent with the One China policy, the Taiwan Relations Act, and other measures.
Last week, a new delegation of US lawmakers visited Taiwan, less than two weeks after Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island angered China and set off large-scale military drills in the Taiwan Strait.
In response to this visit, China’s military conducted combat alert patrols and military drills in the waters and airspace around Taiwan. On Tuesday, China staged military exercises in five areas of the South China Sea off the coast of the south-eastern Guangdong province. Several zones of the Yellow Sea are also involved in the ongoing drills on August 17-19.