Taiwan's president vows to stand with the military and defend the country despite Chinese “external threats”

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
3 Min Read

As China began its two-day military drills, Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te vowed to stand shoulder to shoulder with the military and defend Taiwan, reports Focus Taiwan.

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Taiwan's president made the pledge during a visit to a Marine base on Thursday afternoon, just hours before China began two days of military exercises around Taiwan.

“My responsibility is to defend the country and ensure the safety of all citizens,” Lai said while visiting the Marine Corps' 66th Brigade in Taoyuan for the first time as commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces.

“Faced with external challenges and threats, we will continue to defend the values ​​of freedom and democracy and safeguard regional peace and stability,” Lai said, adding that he would “stand with” all military personnel and “defend national security.”

Lai reassured all citizens and expressed confidence in the military's ability to stick to its position and work to ensure national security, Focus Taiwan reported.

He reiterated his commitment to advance defence reforms, strengthen the nation's defence capabilities and ensure better care of all military personnel.

However, Lai did not comment directly on the previously unannounced military exercises launched by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Thursday morning.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) began a series of joint military exercises at 7:45 am in the Taiwan Strait, north, south and east of Taiwan Island, and around Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin islands, news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday.

Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin are Taiwan-controlled territories in the Taiwan Strait off China's southeastern coast, reports Focus Taiwan.

Senior Navy Captain Li Shi, a spokesman for China's PLA Eastern Theater Command, said the drills were aimed at “severely punishing the separatist acts of 'Taiwan independence' forces and sending a stern warning against interference and provocation by external forces.”

As part of the exercise, dozens of Chinese warplanes carrying live ammunition carried out simulated attacks against “high-value military targets” of the “enemy” along with destroyers, frigates and missile speedboats, according to China's state broadcaster CCTV.

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