TAIWAN President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday night called China’s military exercises off the coast of the self-governing island “irresponsible not only for Taiwan, but also for the international community.”
Demanding that Beijing be “rational and self-restrained,” Tsai said in a video address that Taiwan would not seek to escalate tensions with China further, but stressed that it would defend its sovereignty as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continued a series of live-fire drills around the island due to last until Sunday.
The Taiwan government was working to ensure safe and smooth operations at the island’s ports and airports, as well as the stability of the financial markets, she added.
According to Japan’s Defence Ministry, four Chinese missile shells landed inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone after flying over Taiwan.
However, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence would not confirm that the missiles has passed over Taiwan, saying only that the military was employing various early-warning and monitoring mechanisms to track missiles fired by the PLA and had activated its defence systems.
Tsai thanked the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized countries for calling on Beijing to refrain from “aggressive military activity” in the region and for reiterating its commitment to stability in the Taiwan Strait.
“We strive to maintain the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, and always keep an open mind for constructive dialogues,” Tsai added.
The Chinese military kicked off major air and sea drills in the waters surrounding Taiwan shortly after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ended a visit to the island which has drawn Beijing’s ire.
The exercises were set to end on Sunday. (dpa/NAN)