The self-governed island promised to defend itself should China breach its territory by sea or air. Tensions remain high in the region after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently visited Taipei.
Taiwan said on Wednesday that it would launch a counter-attack in the case of the Chinese military entering its territorial space through sea passage or by air.
China claims the self-governed, democratic island state as part of its territory and has vowed to take the island by force if necessary.
Tensions are running high between the two after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island despite warnings from Beijing to refrain from her trip.
After her visit, China sent warships, missiles and fighter jets into the waters and skies in the Taiwan Strait for a week, with Taiwan condemning this show of force in preparation for an invasion by China.
What did Taiwan say?
“We will continue defending our national security, firmly holding on to the median line, and doing whatever it takes to protect our homes, our families, and our sovereignty,” ministry spokesperson Li-Fang Sun said.
Alongside officials vowing to use their right of self-defense, the Taiwanese military has also been preparing for a possible counter-attack.
A recent string of drone flights from mainland China to Taiwan’s offshore islands of Kinmen and Matsu has further exacerbated tensions between Beijing and Taipei
The military will determine “whether to engage the target and exercise the right of self-defense to counter-attack,” if the drones fail to leave after warnings, Major General Lin Wen-huang, director of operations and planning division, said.
“We will use naval and air forces and coastal fire to repel PLA (Chinese People’s Liberation Army) forces that enter our 24-nautical-mile or 12-nautical-mile zones,” said Lin.
“When the PLA aircraft and ships are in our 12-nautical-mile territorial sea and air space, we will act in accordance with operational orders to exercise the right of self-defence to counter-attack,” he said at an online news briefing.
Taiwan fires warning shots at Chinese drones
Taiwan’s military fired warning shots on Tuesday at a Chinese drone that flew into an area near Kinmen that is restricted. Prior to that, the military had only ignited light flares to warn whoever was behind the drones to retreat.
The appearances of drones have increased simultaneously to Bejing’s military drills following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island. Some are said to survey Taiwanese military outposts, but it remains unclear who is flying the drones from China’s mainland.
Officials announced that Taiwan would strengthen its anti-drone defenses as part of an 12.9% increase in the Defense Ministry’s annual budget from 2023.
According to reports, the US is preparing the proposal of a $1.1 billion (€1.1 billion) defense package for the island. It would include both anti-ship and air-to-air missiles which could be used to repel a potential Chinese invasion.