China Military Drills: Beijing Tells Taiwan to Get Used to Ongoing Exercises Around the Island

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This photo taken on January 2, 2017 shows Chinese J-15 fighter jets on the deck of the Liaoning aircraft carrier during military drills in the South China Sea. Taiwan 'Will Get Use' to Military Encriclement Drills, says China, after 16 were carried out in 2017. Getty

Taiwan will gradually get used to Chinese air force drills around the island, Beijing said on Wednesday, as Taiwan accused the mainland of posing a threat to its national security.

On Tuesday, Taipei said that frequent and increased Chinese military drills pose an “enormous threat” to Taiwan’s security, in an annual defence review, according to the South China Morning Post.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) carried out 16 drills near the self-governed island in the past year, said Taiwan’s defence ministry in a white paper this week. China’s military threat was growing by the day, it added.

When asked about the continuing drills and the footage released by the air force, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) stated that it and the defense ministry had repeatedly said the exercises were routine.

“Everyone will slowly get used it,” TAO spokesman An Fengshan told a news briefing, without elaborating.

China considers Taiwan to be a rebellious province and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control. Taiwan is well armed, mostly with U.S. hardware, but has been seeking to purchase more high-tech equipment from Washington to defend itself from China.

Beijing suspects that Taiwan’s first female president, Tsai Ing-wen, who leads the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, wants to maintain full-fledged independence for the island at all costs. Tsai says she wants to preserve peace with China but will defend Taiwan’s security and way of life.

Chinese state media has given broad coverage to “island encirclement” exercises near Taiwan this month, including showing pictures of Chinese bomber aircraft with what they said was Taiwan’s highest peak, Yushan, visible in the background.

Proudly democratic, Taiwan has shown no interest in being run by the mainland and its government has accused Beijing of not understanding democracy when it criticises Taipei.