'Taiwan independence' means war, warns Chinese military

'Taiwan independence' means war, warns Chinese military

Beijing | The Chinese military on Thursday warned that "Taiwan independence" means war and said it was ready to take resolute actions to thwart foreign interference in support of "separatist activities” in the estranged island.

China's reunification is an irreversible trend of history and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is ready to take resolute actions to counter any "Taiwan independence”, Chinese military spokesperson Sr. Col. Wu Qian told the media here.

Wu was reacting to a question on Taiwan's new leader Lai Ching-te’s pro-independence speech during his swearing-in as the island's new President on May 20.

Lai, 64, also known as William Lai, who succeeded his independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) colleague Tsai Ing-wen after winning the popular vote in the January Presidential election this year, was sworn in as the president at a ceremony held in Taipei on Monday.

China views Taiwan as a rebel province that must be reunified with the mainland, even by force.

Lai's DPP party does not seek independence from China but maintains that Taiwan is already a sovereign nation.

In his no-holds-barred inaugural speech, Lai called on China to stop threatening the island, promised to uphold the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, and called on Beijing to work jointly for peace.

Lai's speech is a confession of his attempts to seek "Taiwan independence" by force and by relying on external forces, Col Wu said, adding that the PLA firmly opposes this and has responded with strong countermeasures.

"Separatist activities seeking 'Taiwan independence' constitute the biggest real threat to peace across the Taiwan Strait," Wu said.

The PLA shoulders the mission of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is fully prepared, remains highly vigilant, and is ready to take resolute actions to counter any "Taiwan independence" separatist attempts and thwart foreign interference, Wu said.

China held massive military exercises around Taiwan just three days after Lai was sworn in as the island's new president.

A spokesperson for the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has called the drills a "strong punishment" for "separatist acts".

The drills, which started early on May 16, happened all around the main island, including the Taiwan Strait to its west, and around the Taiwanese islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin.

The PLA said the focus of the massive drill was on joint sea-air combat-readiness patrols, precision strikes on key targets, and integrated operations inside and outside the island to test the "joint real combat capabilities" of its forces to "seize" Taiwan.

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