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Our Military is Better Due to China Drills: Taiwan President

“I believe that after this period of combat readiness missions, our national military’s combat skills are more mature and its combat power is more powerful,” President Tsai said.


Taiwan's President Tsai says China's provocations in recent weeks have helped make the island's defenders better organized.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen talks to an airforce pilot during a military exercise simulating a Chinese invasion in 2019. File photo: Military News Agency via Reuters.

 

Taiwan’s military has improved its combat skills due to fending off China’s recent military drills around the island, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Tuesday.

Tsai described Taiwan’s forces as now “more mature”, adding she was “extremely proud” of their recent efforts.

“In the face of challenges, our national military has calmly responded to the enemy’s intents at intrusion and have tenaciously defended the country’s security,” she said, according to a transcript of the remarks released by the presidential office.

“I believe that after this period of combat readiness missions, our national military’s combat skills are more mature and its combat power is more powerful.”

 

China’s ‘War Games’

China staged war games in the immediate aftermath of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last month, angered by what it saw as a strong show of US support for the island Beijing claims as its own territory. Chinese military activities close to Taiwan have continued since then.

Speaking to air force personnel at the Hualien air base on Taiwan’s east coast, Tsai said the situation around the Taiwan Strait remained tense and the threat had not gone away.

The Hualien base has hangers cut out of the side of a mountain and is home to Lockheed Martin F-16 jets.

 

Taiwan’s Preparation

Taiwan’s military is also holding two days of drills starting late Tuesday around Hengchun on the far southern tip of the island. Apache attack helicopters, Ching-kuo Indigenous Defence Fighters, artillery and drones will feature in the drills.

Taiwan’s armed forces are well-equipped but dwarfed by China’s. Tsai has been overseeing a modernisation programme and has made increasing defence spending a priority.

Taiwan has set defence as the theme for this year’s October 10 national day, with the slogan “You and me join together to protect the land and defend the country”, organisers said on Tuesday.

Tsai will oversee a military parade that day and give a keynote speech.

Taiwan’s democratically-elected government says that as the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island, it has no right to claim it or decide its future, which can only be set by Taiwan’s people.

 

  • Reuters, with additional editing from Alfie Habershon

 

 

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Alfie Habershon

Alfie is a Reporter at Asia Financial. He previously lived in Mumbai reporting on India's economy and healthcare for data journalism initiative IndiaSpend, as well as having worked for London based Tortoise Media.

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