Taiwan holds military drills amid rising tensions

Taipei [Taiwan]: Taiwan held military drills on Thursday near Taichung amid growing tensions with Beijing.

The island held its first live-fire drills in 2019, which are aimed at combating an amphibious invasion, reports CNN.

“Our military stands ready to counter any threats … including those from Communist China,” Major General Chen Chung-chi, the spokesman for Taiwan’s Defence Ministry stated.

Tanks, rocket launchers and combat helicopters were sent to the coast near Taichung for the live military drills, the first phase of which will continue till the end of January.

“These drills are based on the principle of conduct training wherever wars might break out. We are prepared to maintain our territory and freedom,” Chen further told CNN.

The drills come amid rising pressure from China, with Chinese President Xi Jinping saying, “Reunification is the historical trend and the right path, Taiwan independence is…a dead end,” during an address in January.

On one hand, the Republic of China, or Taiwan, has always maintained that it is a free country with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen stating that China would have to “face the reality of the existence of the Republic of China” in her New Year’s address. On the other, China, or the People’s Republic of China has continuously stressed for reunification with the island and that Taiwan is a part of its internal affairs.