Taiwan’s Defense Ministry announced Tuesday that it will carry out scheduled live-fire artillery exercises in the midst of China’s current military maneuvers around the island after the growing tension unleashed by the visit of the president of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
The artillery exercise with live ammunition, known as the ‘Tien Lei’ drill, was announced at the end of July and aims to simulate the defense of Taiwan against an attack by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
The drill will take place on Tuesday and Thursday this week. and was previously planned as part of the country’s annual exercises, although it comes amid escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwanese television reported that flares were fired in coastal areas during the military exercise in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan, near an area previously designated by the Chinese Army for its drill.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan condemned the expansion of China’s maneuvers close to the island for one more day.
“China’s true intention behind these military exercises is to alter the ‘status quo’ in the Taiwan Strait and throughout the region”Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said at a news conference in Taipei on Tuesday.
Wu stated that China’s large-scale military exercises, missile launches and cyber attacks were part of the “Beijing’s military playbook to prepare for Taiwan invasion”. He also asserted that they were strategies to “weaken public morals” on the island.