By John Xie
China staged a large-scale island invasion military exercise during Taiwan’s National Day as President Tsai Ing-wen called for “meaningful dialogue” with Beijing.
The simulated night attack drill Saturday included drones, special forces and airborne troops moving from multiple locations, according to a report by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).
It was the first time in recent years that Chinese media had disclosed the entire process of a staged military landing in Taiwan.
“The exercise, with the effective integration of multiple new combat forces, increased the actual combat capability of the troops in joint landing and three-dimensional assault,” the report said.
Tensions over Taiwan have risen sharply in recent weeks as Beijing has ramped up military pressure with its warplanes almost daily crossing the sensitive “median line” of the Taiwan Strait that normally serves as an unofficial buffer zone.
According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, a Chinese military aircraft entered the island’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) again Sunday, marking the 17th such incursion since Sept. 16, when Taipei began regularly publishing Chinese military movements on its website.
Beijing views self-ruled Taiwan as its territory and says it must one day be reunited with the mainland – by force if necessary.
Speaking at National Day celebrations, the Taiwan president described the situation in the Taiwan Strait as “quite tense” and called for “meaningful dialogue” with Beijing on an equal basis.
“As long as the Beijing authorities are willing to resolve antagonisms and improve cross-strait relations, while parity and dignity are maintained, we are willing to work together to facilitate meaningful dialogue,” Tsai said.
Beijing responded by accusing Taipei of trying to keep its “confrontational thinking and hostility” toward China.
“Taiwan independence is a dead end, while confrontation will lead to nowhere,” said Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson at the Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing, on Saturday.
Chinese state media also reported on Sunday that the government has cracked hundreds of espionage cases involving spies from Taiwan in a special initiative called “Thunder 2020.” A CCTV report singled out one Taiwan resident, Li Meng-chu, saying he was “instigated by ‘Taiwan independence’ forces” to engage in espionage.