Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Taiwanese air force personnel perform a combat readiness mission at a base in Hualien, Taiwan on August 17. Photo: EPA-EFE

Taiwan’s military ‘stronger’ following PLA drills: Tsai Ing-wen

  • Taiwanese president says the island’s armed forces showed their ability to counter pressure from Beijing
  • Tsai accuses mainland China of using disinformation, drones and ‘grey-zone’ tactics
Taiwan’s military has become more capable of countering the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) following Beijing’s operations targeting the self-ruled island last month, according to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

“I believe after going through this period … our forces have mastered combat skills and become stronger,” Tsai said on Tuesday during an inspection of the Taiwanese air force’s 5th Tactical Composite Wing, based in the eastern county of Hualien.

Despite tough challenges, the island’s forces showed they were capable of dealing with intimidation attempts by the PLA, Tsai said.

Taiwan’s military asks for US$540 million to update Leshan radar system

Taiwanese forces, especially the air force and the navy, were put on guard in early August when the PLA staged a series of unprecedented live-fire drills around Taiwan, including firing ballistic missiles across the island in retaliation for an unannounced but high-profile visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Tsai said the 5th Tactical Composite Wing played an important role during the PLA exercises by keeping watch around the clock and sharply increasing troops and missions to counter PLA warplanes flying close to the island. The unit sent 36 sorties of warplanes to execute its patrol mission, she added.

Tsai said that in addition to its continued use of warplanes and ships, Beijing had also used disinformation tactics, sent drones and launched other “grey-zone” operations to intimidate the Taiwanese people and stir up public distrust towards the island’s government.


Taiwan showcases fighter jets as mainland China’s war games continue following Pelosi visit

Taiwan showcases fighter jets as mainland China’s war games continue following Pelosi visit
In a report to the island’s legislature last week, Taiwan’s defence ministry said the PLA had used civilian fishing boats to enter Taiwanese waters and sent weather balloons and scientific research ships to gather intelligence about the island’s military as part of its grey-zone warfare.

Late last month, Tsai declared that the island’s military would take “necessary countermeasures” to protect Taiwan’s air space following repeated fly-bys of civilian drones from the mainland, which she called “Chinese provocations”.

On August 30, Taiwan’s army announced a four-step protocol for responding to drone encounters – firing warning flares, reporting the incursion, expelling the drone and ultimately shooting it down.


Mainland China launches largest military drill in the Taiwan Strait after Pelosi’s visit

Mainland China launches largest military drill in the Taiwan Strait after Pelosi’s visit
Garrisoned troops in Quemoy, also known as Kinmen, and Matsu used firearms to warn the drones off. On Thursday, troops in Quemoy shot down an unidentified drone that flew into the islet’s restricted waters and refused to leave.

Beijing later accused Taiwan of trying to stoke tensions in the Taiwan Strait. It also slammed Taipei for trying to partner with the United States to counter the mainland.

Beijing sees Taiwan as part of its territory and has never ruled out the use of force to take control of the island. Most countries, including the US, do not recognise Taiwan as an independent state. Washington, however, opposes any attempt to take the island by force.