China concludes latest military drills
The Ministry of National Defense says 91 Chinese military aircraft and 12 ships were detected operating around Taiwan over a 12-hour period on Monday.
Defence officials say a total of 54 aircraft either crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait or entered Taiwan's southwestern and southeastern air defence identification zones. The aircraft included Sukhoi SU-30s, Chengdu J-10s, Shenyang J-11s, J-15 and J-16 fighter jets, H-6 bombers, Y-20 aerial refueling tankers and Y-8 anti-submarine and electronic warfare planes. An unspecified number of Shenyang J-15 fighter jets also took off from the Chinese aircraft carrier "Shandong," which passed through the Bashi Channel into the Western Pacific Ocean last week.
The defence ministry says it scrambled planes to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issued radio warnings, mobilized combat air and naval patrols and deployed defence missile systems to track the Chinese aircraft.
China's Eastern Theater Command announced that it's three-day "joint cruise and patrol special operation" in the Taiwan Strait had come to a "successful conclusion" at 6PM on Monday.
President Tsai Ing-wen is thanking the island's armed forces for showing "a high degree of professionalism and a sense of mission" for closely monitoring China's three-day military operations in the Taiwan Strait.
Taking to Facebook, Tsai said Air Force, Navy and Army personnel "guarded territorial waters and airspace calmly" and "jointly protected national security." According to Tsai, the different branches of the armed forces remained at their posts and "cooperated and worked together in real time" in line with the expectations of the people of Taiwan. Tsai also accused China of causing instability around Taiwan and the region by carrying out the military exercise - saying such actions are "not the responsible attitude of a major country." And the president went on to say that although China's military exercise has ended, Taiwan's military and national security agencies will continue to monitor Chinese regional actions and safeguard Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is thanking the US government for urging Beijing to act reasonably, show self-restraint, stop coercing the Taiwanese people, and end its attempts to change the status quo.
The statement comes after Washington voiced its concerns about China's military exercises around Taiwan and stressed that the US has ample resources and capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region to ensure peace and stability and to honour its security commitments.
MOFA pointed out that China has "no right to intervene" in the basic right of Taiwan's head of state to travel to other countries to engage in diplomatic activities, and by using it as a pretext to take provocative actions, China is clearly challenging the international order.
The ministry says China's military exercise "undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the region," while at the same time "contravening a basic principle of the United Nations Charter that disputes should be settled peacefully."
The foreign ministry is also stressing that as a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan will not escalate conflict nor instigate disputes, but it will safeguard its national security and stand firm in defence of democracy and freedom.
In related news, economics Minister Wang Mei-hua says the island's current fuel inventory is enough to last for 11 days and is adequate. The statement came amid concerns about China's three-day military exercises. Wang says there has been no disruption to the delivery of liquefied natural gas to Taiwan.
She adds that the government is speeding up its construction of LNG storage facilities, which include a third terminal at Guantang Industrial Park in Taoyuan, one in Kaohsiung, and an L-N-G receiving station at Keelung's Hsieh-ho Power Plant.
The economics minister further says her office is hoping for partnerships between domestic and international manufacturers of equipment and materials in the semiconductor sector in order to create an ecosystem and build a supply chain.
Speaking before a legislative hearing, Wang said the government believes that such cooperation will prompt the upgrade of Taiwan's equipment manufacturers in the semiconductor industry as a whole.