Taiwanese President calls Chinese military drills 'irresponsible'

by IANS |

Taipei, Aug 5 (IANS) Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has called China's military exercises off the coast of the self-governing island "irresponsible not only for Taiwan, but also for the international community".

Demanding that Beijing be "rational and self-restrained", Tsai said in a video address on Thursday night: "With China initiating military exercises in areas around Taiwan today, we call on Beijing to act with reason and exercise restraint. Taiwan will not escalate conflict, but we will resolutely defend our sovereignty, our security and our democracy."

On Thursday, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) continued the series of live-fire drills around the island which are due to last until Sunday, reports dpa news agency.

The Taiwan government was working to ensure safe and smooth operations at the island's ports and airports, as well as the stability of the financial markets, the President added.

According to Japan's Defence Ministry, four Chinese missile shells landed inside Japan's exclusive economic zone after flying over Taiwan.

However, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence would not confirm that the missiles has passed over the island, saying only that the military was employing various early-warning and monitoring mechanisms to track missiles fired by the PLA and had activated its defence systems.

Tsai thanked the G7 countries for calling on Beijing to refrain from "aggressive military activity" in the region and for reiterating its commitment to stability in the Taiwan Strait.

"We strive to maintain the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, and always keep an open mind for constructive dialogues," she added.

The Chinese military kicked off major air and sea drills in the waters surrounding Taiwan shortly after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ended a visit to the island which has drawn Beijing's ire.

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