Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Taiwan and China hold opposing military drills as tensions rise

A Taiwanese airforce F16V fighter jet takes part in night drill from the Hualien air base in Taiwan (Johnson Lai/AP)
A Taiwanese airforce F16V fighter jet takes part in night drill from the Hualien air base in Taiwan (Johnson Lai/AP)

Taiwan is holding military exercises to show its ability to resist Chinese pressure to accept Beijing’s political control over the self-governing island, following new rounds of threatening drills from China.

The exercises on Wednesday off the south-eastern county of Hualien follow days of Chinese missile firings and incursions into Taiwan’s sea and airspace by ships and planes from the People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of China’s ruling Communist Party.

“We strongly condemn Communist China’s continuous military provocations around Taiwan’s sea and air that undermine regional peace,” Taiwan defence ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang told reporters at Hualien Air Force Base.

“Communist China’s military operations just provide us with the opportunity for combat-readiness training,” Mr Sun said.

Taiwan China
Military personnel inspect an air-to-air missile at the Hualien air base in Taiwan (Johnson Lai/AP)

Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said China was using recent visits by US Congress members, including House speaker Nancy Pelosi, as a pretext for escalating its attempts to intimidate Taiwan into accepting what it calls its terms for “peaceful reunification”.

“China launched military provocations on these grounds. This is absurd and a barbaric act, which also undermines regional stability and interferes with shipping and commercial activities in the Indo-Pacific region,” Ms Ou said.

China sees the island as a breakaway province to be annexed by force if necessary, and considers visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as recognising its sovereignty.

Alongside its military threats, China imposed visa bans and other sanctions on Tuesday on Taiwanese political figures. China exercises no effective legal authority over Taiwan and it is unclear what effect the sanctions would have.

Taiwan China
Air-to-air missiles are prepared for drills in Taiwan (Johnson Lai/AP)

China has refused all contact with Taiwan’s government since shortly after the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. Ms Tsai was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2020.

China accuses Washington of encouraging the island’s independence through the sale of weapons and engagement between US politicians and the island’s government.

The US says it does not support independence and has no formal diplomatic ties with the island, but it is legally bound to ensure Taiwan can defend itself against threats from China, including a blockade.

Aside from putting its military on alert, Taiwan has largely played down the threat from the Chinese exercises and life has continued as normal among a population of 23 million that has lived under the shadow of bellicose rhetoric and sabre rattling from China for more than seven decades.