Taiwan repels ‘invasion’ at military drill amid China tensions

Blanche Robertson
June 9, 2018

Tsai watched Thursday's session of the ongoing "Han Kuang" (Han Glory) exercise involving 4,100 soldiers, attack helicopters and fighter jets from an air base in Taichung.

China's air force has conducted a series of military manoeuvres near the island in recent months that Taipei has denounced as intimidation, according to Reuters.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen has inspected a large-scale military exercise simulating an attack by Chinese military forces together with the King of Swaziland. She said Taiwan can not exist without its military forces. "China needs to make early preparation", the state-backed Chinese tabloid said.

Taiwan has accused China of using dollar diplomacy to lure away its allies, promising generous aid packages, charges Beijing has denied.

"We are optimistic about all exchanges with the United States as long as it's about national security, and regional peace and stability", defence ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi said when asked to comment on American participation in Taiwan's drills.

The "1992 consensus" refers to an agreement reached that year that both sides are part of "one China", a cherished principle in Beijing.

In a move certain to rile Beijing, Chen said Taiwan was eager to take part in a US-hosted naval drill.

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The mainstream public, especially the young generation, supports the independence movement of Taiwan and wants to see stronger relations with the U.S.to counter China's suppression of Taiwan and to cement Taiwan's independent sovereignty.

Taiwan authorities say it is very rare for a leader of a country with diplomatic ties to observe the drills.

The comments reflect earlier statements by the newspaper, which said last month China must prepare to forcefully respond to any "extreme" US interference in the South China Sea.

The Rim of the Pacific exercise, known as RIMPAC, is billed as the world's largest global maritime exercise, held every two years in Hawaii in June and July.

Tsai has said she wants to maintain the status quo, but will protect Taiwan's security and not be bullied by Beijing.

USA airlines face a conundrum, although the White House has promised that it will support American air carriers, Beijing can deny the companies landing rights in China and the vast communist country has become a highly lucrative market for the major carriers, which they would be hard pressed to miss out on.

China said on Monday it opposed the United States selling weapons to Taiwan, after the Trump administration approved the marketing licence required for US manufacturers to sell technology to Taiwan that would allow for building submarines.

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