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Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen warns China, says restraint does not mean Taiwan won't 'counter'

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory despite the strong objections of the government in Taipei, has carried out military exercises around the island after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi paida visit to the self-governed island.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen warns China, says restraint does not mean Taiwan won't 'counter' AJR
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First Published Aug 30, 2022, 6:19 PM IST

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday said that the more China provokes the more calm Taiwan must be, but restraint does not mean there cannot be "strong countermeasures" if needed. The taiwanese President this while visiting front line forces based on islands in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory despite the strong objections of the government in Taipei, has carried out military exercises around the island after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi paida visit to the self-governed island.

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Visiting a major air and naval base on the Penghu islands in the Taiwan Strait, Tsai praised the armed forces for their tireless efforts to protect Taiwan, and condemned Beijing for its drills and intimidation.

"I want to tell everyone that the more the enemy provokes, the calmer we must be," Tsai told naval officers.

"We will not provoke disputes, and we will exercise self-restraint, but it does not mean that we will not counter," she added.

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"I have ordered the Ministry of National Defense to take necessary and strong countermeasures in a timely manner to defend the safety of the country's airspace," Tsai said, without elaborating.

No shots have been fired, and Taiwan's government has repeatedly said it has responded calmly to China's activities.

However, Taiwan has been particularly upset by the Chinese drones flying very close to islands it controls next to China's coast, which Tsai said was part of Beijing's "grey zone" warfare.

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The fighter jets based at Penghu have been going out armed with live ammunition since China began its exercises this month. Frigate captain Lee Kuang-ping said that they regularly had been trading radio warnings with Chinese warships.

"Sometimes near the drill zone communist Chinese fishing boats appear, and they provocatively say 'hit them, hit them!'" Lee added.

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On August 15, the Chinese military unit responsible for the area adjacent to Taiwan released a video of the Penghu islands, apparently taken by China's air force.

Taiwan's military termed the video information warfare, accusing China of exaggeration and saying it was not true Chinese forces had come near the islands. 

Penghu, a summer tourist destination for its beaches, is close to Taiwan's southwestern coast, unlike the Taiwan-controlled Kinmen and Matsu islands, which are right next to China's shores.

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