Taiwanese television broadcast a video on Friday of a military exercise simulating the island coming under attack.
The film, produced by the defence ministry, showed troops firing anti-aircraft, anti-tank and anti-ship missiles in defence of the island against a mock invasion from across the Taiwan Strait, the waterway that separates it from mainland China.
In a statement accompanying the film – which was released on Facebook and released to the media on Thursday – the ministry said Beijing should not underestimate the island’s determination to defend itself.
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“The most egotistical country can thoughtlessly provoke a war and the most ignorant government can be caught in the flames of war,” it said, adding that repeated provocation and intimidation by the People’s Liberation Army – mainland China’s military – would not work.
“It would have only the effect of triggering the wrath and antipathy of Taiwan’s people, and hurt peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the ministry said.
The release of the footage came in the wake of a number of military propaganda films shown by China’s state broadcaster CCTV amid worsening tensions between Beijing and Taipei.
On August 14, a CCTV-7 programme revealed details of the People’s Liberation Army’s new Tianlei 500, a 500kg (1,100lb) precision-guided munitions dispenser and air-to-surface missile.
On Tuesday, CCTV broadcast a report about the PLA staging live-fire exercises at both the northern and southern ends of Taiwan, and a day later released footage of a live-fire drill staged by the PLA in the East China Sea.
While it did not specify an exact time or date for the exercises, the PLA Eastern Theatre Command said on August 13 it had recently carried out combat exercises at the north and south ends of the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday the island was well aware of the PLA’s activities.
“We have a full grasp of and are closely monitoring the overall military situation and the public can rest assured our military is able to safeguard our national security,” she said.
The latest opinion poll by the Chinese Association of Public Opinion Research in Taipei showed 80 per cent of people did not believe the PLA would launch an attack on the island.
Su Tzu-yun, a senior analyst at the National Defence and Security Research, a government-funded think tank in Taipei, said that despite the CCTV reports many of the PLA drills were routine events that were held every year and were not politically motivated.
“While we should take a cautious approach towards the Chinese threats, there is no need for us to overreact,” he said.
“They should be viewed as propaganda and psychological warfare designed to unnerve the public in Taiwan.”
But Li Chia-wei, an associate research fellow at the National Policy Foundation, a think tank affiliated to Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang, said people should not close their eyes to the possibility of an attack by the PLA.
“The Taiwanese public is numb to the sabre rattling by Beijing,” he said in reference to the latest opinion poll.
“[But the PLA’s latest exercises are] quite different from the repeated government warnings and what major international media are worried about.”
More from South China Morning Post:
- Chinese state broadcaster reveals details of new airborne weapon Tianlei 500 as tensions simmer with Taiwan
- Chinese navy may launch eighth Type 055 stealth destroyer later this year
- Fighter jets cross a line in Taiwan Strait, says Taipei as it hosts US health official amid rising US-China tension
- In a first, Taiwan’s missile systems track PLA fighter jets
This article Taiwanese military releases video of troops ‘fending off attack from Chinese mainland’ first appeared on South China Morning Post