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Taiwan's political parties criticize Chinese military drills

05/23/2024 07:15 PM
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A Navy personnel onboard the Pan Chao frigate monitors Chinese military vessel, the Shaoxing. Photo courtesy of Ministry of National Defense May 23, 2024
A Navy personnel onboard the Pan Chao frigate monitors Chinese military vessel, the Shaoxing. Photo courtesy of Ministry of National Defense May 23, 2024

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan People's Party (TPP) criticized China after Beijing announced military exercises around Taiwan on Thursday, with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) noting that China is seeking to intimidate Taiwan and poses a global threat to its democratic allies.

The People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Eastern Theater Command announced on Thursday the commencement of "Joint Sword-2024A" military exercises in the waters and airspace around Taiwan.

According to a report by China's state-run Xinhua News Agency, the drills focus on joint sea-air combat-readiness patrols, joint seizure of comprehensive battlefield control, and joint precision strikes on key targets.

"The drills are being conducted in the Taiwan Strait, and the north, south and east of Taiwan Island, as well as areas around the islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin," it added.

KMT caucus secretary-general, Hung Mong-kai (洪孟楷), representing the nation's largest opposition party, noted that Taiwanese find such actions intolerable and stressed the importance of defending Taiwan's sovereignty.

Hung also called for government transparency regarding intelligence and contingency plans to alleviate public concern and establish trustworthy communication channels with China to prevent further escalation in cross-strait tensions.

In a statement, the KMT urged caution over the PLA military exercises, calling on the defense ministry to assess the need for heightened readiness to ensure national security.

The party also called for restraint and urged Beijing to avoid unnecessary actions, emphasizing the importance of preserving cross-strait peace and development.

TPP caucus convener Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) criticized China's provocative behavior, asserting that it undermines peace and stability across the strait and urged restraint from Beijing.

When asked about the correlation between President Lai's inauguration speech and the exercises, Huang declined to speculate on China's motives but emphasized that provocations would not improve cross-strait relations.

In a statement, the TPP strongly condemned the military drills, urged China to stop destabilizing the Taiwan Strait and called on the Ministry of National Defense to respond cautiously.

DPP caucus secretary-general Wu Szu-yao (吳思瑤) condemned China's military exercises as intimidation tactics directed at President Lai and the new government, which she said extended beyond Taiwan to global democratic allies.

She expressed confidence in Taiwan's military preparedness and urged public support for the armed forces.

Wu highlighted the strategic nature of Beijing's move during a period of internal political discourse in Taiwan, comparing it to Mao Zedong's (毛澤東) encirclement strategy, emphasizing the need for vigilance against various forms of Chinese coercion, from military exercises to legislative disputes.

Meanwhile, DPP legislator Puma Shen (沈伯洋) noted the timing of China's military exercises coincided with the departure of foreign dignitaries from Taiwan, likening it to previous instances such as the visit of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

He highlighted China's dual strategy of intimidation and attrition, aiming to divert attention from internal issues and disrupt Taiwan's political landscape.

Shen emphasized the significance of events since February, including illegal fishing incidents near Kinmen and ongoing parliamentary disputes, as part of China's broader strategy targeting Taiwan's stability and sovereignty.

(By Kuo Chien-shen, Fan Cheng-hsiang, Lin Ching-yin, Liu Kuan-ting and Evelyn Yang)

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