Taiwan says China using drills to prepare for invasion

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Taiwan says China using drills to prepare for invasion

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Foreign Minister said on Tuesday that China was using military drills it launched in protest against U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit as a game plan to prepare for an eventual invasion of the self-ruled island.

Joseph Wu, speaking at a news conference in Taipei, offered no timetable for a possible invasion of Taiwan, which is claimed by China as its own.

He said Taiwan would not be intimidated even though the drills continued with China often breaching the unofficial median line down the Taiwan Strait.

China has used the drills in its military playbook to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan, Wu said.

It is carrying large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyberattacks, disinformation and economic coercion in an effort to weaken public morale in Taiwan.

After the drills concludes, China may try to routinize its action in an attempt to wreck the long-term status quo across the Taiwan Strait, Wu said.

Such moves threatened regional security and gave a clear image of China's geostrategic ambitions beyond Taiwan, Wu said, urging greater international support to stop China controlling the strait.

A Pentagon official said on Monday that Washington was sticking to its assessment that China would not try to invade Taiwan for the next two years.

After the end of four days of the largest-ever Chinese exercises surrounding the island on Sunday, military tensions simmered, and drills included ballistic missile launches and simulated air and sea attacks in the skies and waters surrounding Taiwan.

China's Eastern Theater Command announced on Monday that it would conduct fresh joint drills focusing on anti-submarine and sea assault operations, confirming the fears of security analysts and diplomats that Beijing would keep up the pressure on Taiwan's defenses.

China left some lines of communication with the United States, including theater-level military talks and discussions on climate change, as Pelosi left the region last Friday.

Taiwan fired howitzer artillery out of the southern county of Pingtung on Tuesday after it began its long-scheduled drills.

President Joe Biden, in his first public comments on the issue since Pelosi visited, said he was concerned about China's actions in the region but he was not worried about Taiwan.

Biden told reporters in Delaware that they are moving as much as they are. I don't think they're going to do anything more than they are. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said the U.S. military would continue to carry out voyages through the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks.

China has never ruled out taking Taiwan by force, and on Monday Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that China was conducting normal military exercises in our waters in an open, transparent and professional way, adding that Taiwan was part of China.

Taiwan rejects China's sovereignty claims, saying only the Taiwanese people can decide the island's future.