President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday evening gave an address to the nation to allay concerns over China’s military drills in Taiwan’s vicinity. Tsai said that Taiwan would be rational and not take provocative actions, but also not back down. On Friday, Premier Su Tseng-chang condemned China’s actions and went as far as to say that it was an evil neighbor at Taiwan’s doorstep. He called on democracies around the world to come together against authoritarianism.##
The Chinese State Media outlet People’s Daily shows footage from military drills held on Thursday. There’s guided missile launches, and clips of soldiers training onboard an aircraft carrier. The music and tone of the video shows international backlash has not affected China in the slightest.
Today, China initiated live-fire military exercises in areas around Taiwan. This type of continued, deliberately heightened military threat, especially the dangerous launch of missiles into some of the busiest transportation corridors in the world, is irresponsible, both to Taiwan and to the entire international community. Air and maritime transportation safety, as well as the normal functioning of international trade, are all coming under unprecedented threat. We solemnly call upon China to act with reason and exercise restraint.
Our evil neighbor is flexing its muscle on our doorstep. Only if democracies cooperate together can authoritarian regimes be prevented from acting recklessly.
The Presidential Office and the Executive Yuan denounced China’s actions. And it’s not just military provocation but also cyberattacks.
I also want to say to my fellow citizens that, over the next few days, China most likely will conduct intensive information warfare operations to cause psychological unrest among our people through disinformation campaigns. Our national security agencies are monitoring the situation, and are communicating closely with other government agencies. We are rational and will not act to provoke. But we will absolutely not back down.
President Tsai said Taiwan would not back down. She and the premier were conspicuously absent from public events on Thursday. Though some reports emerged that the two could be hiding in a high-security facility, in reality Tsai had canceled all her activities to remain at the Presidential Office, while the National Security Council communicated with Taiwan’s allies, such as the U.S. and Japan.
Our nation’s armed forces are already heightening their readiness, and are closely following in real time all military developments in surrounding areas. I would like to thank all our soldiers.
President Tsai is working to allay public concerns amid high tensions in the Taiwan Strait.