Taiwan vows to counterattack if China's forces enter its territory

Chinese armed forces have increased military exercises near Taiwan this month in response to a visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Taiwanese Army representatives attend a baseball game with face masks adorned with the Taiwanese flag, May 7, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/ANN WANG)
Taiwanese Army representatives attend a baseball game with face masks adorned with the Taiwanese flag, May 7, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/ANN WANG)

Taiwan said on Wednesday it would exercise its right to self-defense and "counter-attack" if Chinese armed forces entered its territory, as Beijing increased military activities near the democratic island.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own against strong objections by the government in Taipei, has held military exercises around the island this month in reaction to a visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"For aircraft and ships that entered our sea and air territory of 12 nautical miles, the national army will exercise the right to self-defense and counter-attack without exception,

Lin Wen-Huang, deputy chief of staff for operations and planning

Taiwanese defense officials said China's "high intensity" military patrols near Taiwan continued and Beijing's intention of making the Taiwan Strait separating the two sides its "inner sea" would become the main source of instability in the region.

"For aircraft and ships that entered our sea and air territory of 12 nautical miles, the national army will exercise right to self-defense and counter attack without exception," Lin Wen-Huang, deputy chief of the general staff for operations and planning, told reporters at a news briefing.

 Soldiers from Taiwan demonstrate a US-made dual mount Stinger missile system during the opening day of the ''Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition'' August 11, 2005. (credit: REUTERS/RICHARD CHUNG RC/DY) Soldiers from Taiwan demonstrate a US-made dual mount Stinger missile system during the opening day of the ''Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition'' August 11, 2005. (credit: REUTERS/RICHARD CHUNG RC/DY)

Taiwan strengthening their defense

Taiwan fired warning shots at a Chinese drone for the first time on Tuesday shortly after President Tsai Ing-wen ordered Taiwan's military to take "strong countermeasures" against what she termed Chinese provocations.

China's Foreign Ministry this week dismissed complaints from Taiwan about drone harassment as "not worth fussing about," prompting Taipei to label Beijing as nothing more than thieves. Read full story

In the same briefing, Ma Cheng-Kun, a director from the military academy National Defence University, said China might further move to reject the passage of foreign naval ships through the strait without its permission.

"After the new military normal status has been consolidated, then the risk of collision will increase if foreign naval ships insist on the rights of navigation and freedom," he said.

US warships and those from allied nations such as Britain and Canada have routinely sailed through the strait in recent years, including two US Navy warships last week. Read full story

Taiwan's armed forces are well-equipped but dwarfed by China's. Tsai is overseeing a modernization program and has made increasing defense spending a priority.

China has not ruled out using force to bring the island under its control. Taipei rejects Beijing's sovereignty claims, saying that the People's Republic of China has never ruled the island and that only Taiwan's people can decide their future.