Focus Taiwan App

President Lai pledges to safeguard Taiwan despite 'external threats'

05/23/2024 07:24 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
President Lai Ching-te (center) watches a marine carry a missile launcher during his visit to a military base in Taoyuan on Thursday. CNA photo May 23, 2024
President Lai Ching-te (center) watches a marine carry a missile launcher during his visit to a military base in Taoyuan on Thursday. CNA photo May 23, 2024

Taoyuan, May 23 (CNA) President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) pledged to stand side by side with the military and safeguard Taiwan during a visit to a Marine base on Thursday afternoon, just hours after China launched two days of military exercises surrounding Taiwan.

"My responsibility is to safeguard the nation and ensure the safety of all citizens," Lai said as he visited the 66th brigade of the Marine Corps in Taoyuan for the first time in his capacity as the commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces.

In the face of "external challenges and threats, we will continue to defend the values of freedom and democracy, and protect regional peace and stability," Lai said, noting that he would "stand alongside" all military personnel and "protect national security."

Lai urged all civilians to rest assured as he expressed confidence in the military's ability to stand firm at their posts and work to ensure national security.

He reiterated his commitment to continue to push for defense reforms, bolster the country's defense capabilities, and ensure better care for all military personnel.

The president did not, however, directly comment on the previously unannounced military exercises launched by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Thursday morning, just three days after Lai was sworn in.

The PLA kicked off a series of joint military exercises "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" from 7:45 a.m. Thursday, according to reports by China's state media Xinhua News Agency.

Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin are all Taiwan-controlled territories in the Taiwan Strait close to China's southeast coast.

Spokesperson for the theater command Li Xi (李熹) was quoted as saying the exercises were intended as "strong punishment for the separatist acts of 'Taiwan independence' forces and a stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces," without elaborating.

(By Yeh Chen and Teng Pei-ju)


> Chinese Version

Related News

May 23

ANALYSIS/Chinese military drills around Taiwan could be first in series: Expert

● No PLA live-fire exercises detected in Taiwan Strait: Taiwan military

● PLA drills 'irrational provocation' after Lai's inauguration: Taiwan MND

● Taiwan's political parties criticize Chinese military drills

● Taiwan expels China Coast Guard boats near Matsu, Kinmen

May 21

● Beijing to continue pressure on Taiwan after Lai's inauguration: Scholars

● Taiwanese reporters again excluded from WHA due to Chinese pressure

May 20

● Lai urges Beijing to recognize ROC, calls for dialogue at inauguration

● U.S. urges China to act with restraint after Lai's inauguration

● Business group urges Lai to show 'flexibility' on cross-strait issues

● Full text of President Lai Ching-te's inaugural address

    We value your privacy.
    Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.