Taiwan’s foreign minister says China is carrying out part of attack plan for invasion

TAIPEI, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Taiwan’s foreign minister said on Tuesday China was using military drills it launched to protest U.S. President Nancy Pelosi’s visit as a game plan to prepare for an invasion of the autonomous island.

Joseph Wu, speaking at a press conference in Taipei, offered no timetable for a possible invasion of Taiwan, claimed by China as its own.

He said Taiwan would not be intimidated even if the drills continued, with China often crossing the unofficial median line along the Taiwan Strait.

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“China used the exercises in its military manual to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan,” Wu said.

“It conducts large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyberattacks, disinformation and economic coercion, in an effort to weaken public morale in Taiwan.

“Once the drills are over, China might try to normalize its action to try to destroy the long-term status quo across the Taiwan Strait,” Wu said.

Such moves threatened regional security and provided “a clear picture of China’s geostrategic ambitions beyond Taiwan”, Wu said, calling for greater international support to prevent China from effectively controlling the strait.

A Pentagon official said Monday that Washington stands by its assessment that China will not try to invade Taiwan for the next two years. Read more

Wu spoke as military tensions simmered after the scheduled end on Sunday of the four days of China’s largest-ever exercises around the island – drills that included ballistic missile launches and mock sea and air attacks in the sky and seas surrounding Taiwan.

China’s Eastern Theater Command said on Monday it would conduct new joint drills focusing on anti-submarine and maritime assault operations – confirming fears by some security analysts and diplomats that Beijing is keeping pressure on Taiwan’s defenses.

A person familiar with security planning in areas around Taiwan described to Reuters on Tuesday an ongoing “stalemate” around the median line involving about 10 warships each from China and Taiwan.

“China kept trying to get closer to the middle line,” the person said. “Taiwan forces tried to keep international waterways open.”

As Pelosi left the region last Friday, China also dropped some lines of communication with the United States, including theater-level military talks and discussions on climate change.

Taiwan began its own long-scheduled exercises on Tuesday, firing artillery howitzers at sea in southern Pingtung County.

US President Joe Biden, in his first public comments on the issue since Pelosi’s visit, said on Monday he was concerned about China’s actions in the region but was not worried about Taiwan. Read more

“I’m afraid they’re moving as much as they are,” Biden told reporters in Delaware, referring to China. “But I don’t think they’re going to do anything more than they do.”

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl also said the US military will continue to make trips across the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks.

China has never ruled out taking Taiwan by force and on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China was conducting normal military exercises “in our waters” in an open, transparent manner. and professional, adding that Taiwan was part of China.

Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims, saying only the Taiwanese people can decide the island’s future.

(This story has been reclassified to correct a typo in paragraph 10)

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Reporting by Sarah Wu and Yimou Lee in Taipei; Written by Greg Torode, edited by Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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