China’s frequent military activity is causing regional instability, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Thursday, adding that the island’s forces have been keeping a close eye on what they are up to.
China considers self-ruled and democratic Taiwan to be its sacred territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring what it views as a wayward province under Chinese control.
China has taken an increasingly hostile stance towards Taiwan since Tsai, from the island’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, won presidential elections last year.
Beijing suspects her of pushing for the island’s formal independence, a red line for China. Tsai says she wants peace with the mainland, but that she will defend Taiwan’s security and way of life.
China’s air force has carried out 16 rounds of exercises close to Taiwan in the past year or so, Taiwan’s defence ministry said in a white paper this week. China’s military threat was growing by the day, it warned.
Beijing has repeatedly said its drills, which have also taken place in the disputed the South China Sea and the Sea of Japan, are routine and not aimed at any third party.