Taiwan Says China Using Military Drills to ‘Nibble Away’ at Air and Sea Space

A Chinese newspaper front page shows news coverage of China's military drills around
JADE GAO/AFP via Getty Images

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Lin Chia-lung said Thursday that China’s aggressive military drills are intended to “nibble away” at the island’s air and sea space.

Lin said this effort to collapse Taiwan’s operational space should be a global concern.

“The Chinese communists’ pressure on Taiwan is all encompassing, especially diplomatically,” Lin told reporters on his way into a parliamentary session.

“The Chinese communists are continuing to change the status quo. They are creating a new normal, pressing on at every stage, trying to nibble away and annex,” he said.

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An outdoor screen shows news coverage of China’s military drills around Taiwan in Beijing on May 23, 2024. (JADE GAO/AFP via Getty Images)

In his remarks to the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee on Thursday, Lin said some nations have expressed interest in developing stronger relationships with Taiwan, pushing back against China’s strategy of diplomatic isolation. He suggested one reason for this growing interest is that Taiwan, unlike China, does not use economic leverage to manipulate or punish its business partners.

The foreign minister said another mark in Taiwan’s favor is that it offers clean, secure, and reliable networking technology, in contrast to Chinese countries, which are all required, by law, to cooperate with Chinese military and intelligence services.

Lin warned that China will try to peel off more of Taiwan’s allies in the years ahead, but “we hope to make more friends.”

The Chinese Defense Ministry on Thursday denounced the United States and United Kingdom for supporting Taiwan’s new government under President William Lai Ching-te. The defense ministry accused Taiwan’s allies of trying to “instigate confrontation” with China, which they supposedly view through a “Cold War” lens.

The tyranny in Beijing was irritated by a delegation of U.S. congressional representatives who met with President Lai on Monday to reaffirm American support for Taiwan’s democracy.

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Taiwan President Lai Ching-te (R) puts on a cowboy hat given to him by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) (L) during a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, on May 27, 2024. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)

“There should be no doubt, there should be no skepticism in the United States, Taiwan or anywhere in the world, of American resolve to maintain the status quo and peace in the Taiwan Strait,” said Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), co-chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus and a member of the delegation.

The Chinese Defense Ministry said it was satisfied with the two days of aggressive military drills around Taiwan it staged in a tantrum after Lai was inaugurated but warned that more flexes of military power could be coming to “contain aggressive Taiwanese independence and separatist activities” and send a “warning against foreign interference.”

“We have reached our expected goals,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian. “We are confident that despite turbulence and changes in outside situation, we will deal with everything with ease.”

Wu added that “stronger countermeasures” would be used against further moves by Taiwan’s “separatist” forces.


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