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
“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.
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.
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”.
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.