The Chinese military issued a warning on Thursday, stating that any moves towards “Taiwan independence” would lead to war. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spokesperson, Sr. Col. Wu Qian, emphasized that China’s reunification was an irreversible historical trend. Wu made these remarks during a media briefing, underscoring that the PLA was prepared to take resolute action to counter any separatist activities and foreign interference related to Taiwan.

The reaction from Wu followed a pro-independence speech by Taiwan’s newly appointed leader, Lai Ching-te, during his inauguration as President on May 20. The 64-year-old Lai, also known as William Lai, succeeded Tsai Ing-wen from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after securing the popular vote in the January Presidential election. The swearing-in ceremony took place in Taipei earlier this week.

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China views Taiwan as a rebel province that must be reunified with the mainland, even if it requires the use of force. However, Lai’s DPP party does not advocate for independence from China, maintaining that Taiwan is already a sovereign nation.

In his inauguration speech, Lai urged China to halt its threats towards the island and expressed the need to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. He further called upon Beijing to collaborate in working towards peace.

China’s military spokesperson, Col. Wu, considered Lai’s speech as an admission of attempts to secure “Taiwan independence” through force and external support. The PLA vehemently opposes such acts and has responded with strong countermeasures. Wu emphasized that separatist activities aimed at “Taiwan independence” pose the greatest threat to peace in the region.

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The PLA bears the responsibility of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It remains fully prepared, highly vigilant, and ready to take resolute actions to counter any attempts at “Taiwan independence” and thwart foreign interference, stated Wu.

Shortly after Lai assumed the presidency, China conducted extensive military exercises surrounding Taiwan. The drills, which commenced on May 16, spanned the main island, including the Taiwan Strait and the Taiwanese islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin.

The PLA referred to these exercises as a “strong punishment” for “separatist acts.” The drills primarily focused on joint sea-air combat-readiness patrols, precision strikes on vital targets, and integrated operations, both within and beyond the island. The objective was to assess the “joint real combat capabilities” of the forces in seizing Taiwan.

As tensions persist between China and Taiwan, the situation remains volatile.

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