PLA military drills 'legal, legitimate and necessary'

2024-05-25 Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download

A video clip shows the Eastern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army conducting joint drills surrounding the island of Taiwan on Friday. (China Central Television)

The Ministry of National Defense said on Friday that the People's Liberation Army's military exercises around China's Taiwan island are targeted at "Taiwan independence" forces and external interference, and are "completely reasonable, legal, legitimate and necessary".

Ministry spokesman Wu Qian made the remarks on Friday afternoon in response to some United States officials who claimed that the PLA exercises escalated tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

On Thursday morning, the PLA Eastern Theater Command announced two-day joint military exercises in the Taiwan Strait and to the north, south and east of Taiwan, as well as areas around the islands of Jinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin, which are located in the Taiwan Strait.

The drills, code-named Joint Sword-2024A, came in response to a speech on Monday by the new leader of the Taiwan region, Lai Ching-te, who blatantly advocated "Taiwan independence".

Wu said that the drills are aimed at striking the rampant "Taiwan independence" forces and deterring external forces from interfering. "They're completely reasonable, legal, legitimate and necessary."

"The leader of the Taiwan region has seriously challenged the one-China principle since taking office, blatantly peddling the 'two-state theory', and attempting to seek 'independence' through force and rely on external forces for 'independence', pushing Taiwan compatriots into a dangerous situation of war and peril," he said.

"This is playing with fire, and those who play with fire will absolutely burn themselves," the spokesman said.

He emphasized that Taiwan is China's Taiwan, and how to resolve the Taiwan question should be decided by the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people.

He warned, "Each provocation of 'Taiwan independence' will prompt our countermeasures to advance one step further, until the complete reunification of our motherland is achieved."

On Friday, Li Xi, spokesman for the PLA Eastern Theater Command, said that the theater command continued its exercises around Taiwan, conducting training in coordinated actions between ships and aircraft, as well as exercises in sea and land strikes, to test the multi-domain coordination and joint combat capabilities.

He also said in a China Media Group report that the troops will, with strong determination, firm will and strong capabilities, resolutely strike against the rampant "Taiwan independence" forces, firmly crush all separatist schemes, and staunchly defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

According to the report, upon receiving orders, missile units from a Rocket Force brigade immediately moved from concealed standby areas to their designated positions. Dozens of launch units subsequently initiated simulated fire strikes.

Li Dawei, a soldier from the brigade, said, "We maintain a high state of alert at all times, ... resolutely carrying out various tasks, and decisively thwarting any form of 'Taiwan independence' attempt."

Zhong Houtao, a Taiwan affairs expert at the University of International Relations, said that the military exercises are a clear warning to Lai and "Taiwan independence" separatist forces.

"The exercises have formed an encirclement across Taiwan, fully indicating that the PLA has a strong capability to lock down the island," he said.

Zhong stressed that the drills have also sent a strong signal to external forces, such as the US, as well as separatist forces in Taiwan.

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