Taiwan says Chinese threat ‘not decreased’ even after end of military drills

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Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen warned on Thursday that the threat from China has not decreased despite the end of China’s military drills and that the island nation will not escalate or provoke any conflicts.

After China started military drills around Taiwan including firing several missiles toward the island nation, US secretary of state Antony Blinken slammed China’s military exercises, saying there was no justification for Beijing’s “extreme disproportionate and escalatory” response.

The statement came after US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s historic but highly controversial trip to Taiwan. Ms Pelosi pledged full support from America for Taiwan and said that China will not be able to isolate the island by preventing US officials from travelling there.

Ms Tsai on Thursday said that “at present, the threat of Chinese military force has not decreased. We will firmly defend our sovereignty and national security, and adhere to the line of defence of democracy and freedom.”

The president added: “In the face of China’s recent military provocations, the nation’s armed forces are right on the front lines, and its duties will only be more onerous and the pressure will be even greater.”

On Wednesday, however, China said it sought “peaceful unification” with Taiwan but “does not pledge to relinquish the use of military force and retains all necessary options.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said “achieving the complete reunification of the motherland” was an unstoppable historical trend, adding that “we are willing to create a wide space for peaceful reunification, but we will never leave any room for all forms of secessionist activities for Taiwan independence”.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence had accused China of firing 11 Dongfeng ballistic missiles into waters to the northeast and southwest of the island as part of aggressive military drills intended as an intimidating show of force.