Taiwan is accusing China of using 'cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling' as live-fire drills begin

  • Taiwan’s defence ministry accused China of using “cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling” to threaten them as China began a massive live-fire military drill in the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday.
  • Chinese state media called the military exercise a direct response to “provocations” by the Taiwanese government, and is concerned the island will push for formal independance.
  • China regularly carries out military drills near Taiwan, which has been a cause for concern internationally.

Taiwan’s defence ministry accused China of using “cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling” to threaten them as China began a massive live-fire military drill in the Taiwan Strait, stoking tensions in the area.

“The Chinese communists have been using cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling on every aspect of the Republic of China [Taiwan] in the hope of affecting our morale or creating social unease,” said defence ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi said, according to Reuters.

The exercises are taking place off the coast of Quanzhou in the Taiwan Strait, a 110 mile (180 kilometer) stretch of water seperating the self-ruled island from mainland China.

Chinese state television said the exercises would start at 8 a.m. local time and last until midnight, but little details were provided, Reuters said.

Chen told Reuters that the ministry was monitoring the situation and did not plan to issue an alert at this point.

Chinese state media called the military exercise a direct response to “provocations” by the Taiwanese government, and is concerned the island will push for formal independance.

In October, China said the US and Taiwan had crossed its “red line” with the Taiwan Travel Act, which allows for official visits between diplomats, and other measures intended to strengthen ties between Taiwan and the US. Chinese state media said at the time the law would lead to military pressure, and has increased regional tensions.

Reuters reported that Taiwan conducted its own live-fire drills on islands close to China on Tuesday. Taiwan will also hold its annual Han Kuang military drills, which tests its defence capabilities, in June, according to Taiwan News.

China regularly carries out military drills near Taiwan, which has been a cause for concern internationally. Last year, China conducted 16 drills near Taiwan and a report from the island’s defence department said China’s “military threat towards us grows daily.”

Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues, as China considers the island as part of its territory.

Tara Francis Chan contributed to this report.

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