Taipei stages air raid drills as China threat looms

0
35
Taipei stages air raid drills as China threat looms

Air raid sirens blared in Taiwan’s capital Taipei on Monday and the military staged defense exercises as China reemphasized its threats to respond if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the island. 

Roads throughout Taipei emptied, stores closed, and people were directed to shelters or told to remain inside as sirens were sounded and “missile alert” text messages were sent in preparation for a possible Chinese attack.

At the same time, the military held its annual Han Kuang exercises involving air and sea drills and the mobilization of tanks and troops.

“In recent years, Chinese military planes have frequently harassed Taiwan, and the war between Russia and Ukraine broke out in February this year,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je told reporters​ on Monday, vocalizing fears that Beijing may follow Moscow’s lead and invade. 

“All these things make us understand the importance of being vigilant in times of peace and we need to be prepared if there is war​,” Ko said. ​

Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei, Taiwan held an air raid drill and their annual Han Kuang military exercises amid a possible attack from China in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s anticipated visit to Taiwan.
AFP via Getty Images
Taipei, Taiwan
As sirens blasted through the city, roads in Taipei were emptied, stores were closed and civilians were directed to stay inside.
AFP via Getty Images

China considers self-ruled Taiwan a part of its territory and has threatened to “reunify” the country by force if necessary. ​Beijing has also sent warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian ​raised the possibility of retaliation again on​ Monday.

“We are seriously prepared,” he said when asked about reports that China was considering a military response.

Pressed on what “seriously prepared for” entailed, Zhao said: “If the U.S. side is bent on going its own way, China will take strong measures to resolutely respond and counteract.”

“The United States should be held responsible for any serious consequences,” he added.

The Pentagon has expressed concern that Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan could escalate already heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing, and President Biden has also weighed in. 

“The military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,” Biden told reporters last Wednesday. “But I don’t know what the status of it is.”

Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je is fearful that China will follow in Russia’s footsteps and invade Taiwan.
REUTERS
Taipei, Taiwan
Pelosi dismissed The Pentagon’s concern for her safety during her upcoming trip to Taiwan, which could intensify tensions between Washington and Beijing.
REUTERS

Pelosi hasn’t said whether she would travel to the island of 23 million people this summer because of security concerns, but dismissed the US military’s ​unease about her safety. ​

“I think what the ​p​resident was saying is – maybe the military was afraid our plane would get shot down or something like that by the Chinese,” ​she said last week, noting that she hadn’t heard that concern from Biden. 

Pelosi and those accompanying her on the trip to Taiwan would fly on US military aircraft.

Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei residents taking shelter during the Wanan Air Raid Drill on July 25, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Sunday warned that China’s military has become “significantly” more aggressive in the Pacific over the past five years.

Citing the number of interactions between China, the US and other countries in the region during that time, Milley said, “The message is the Chinese military, in the air and at sea, have become significantly more and noticeably more aggressive in this particular region.”

With Post wires

Source link