Taiwan on Wednesday said its armed forces “will adjust” deployment after China announced an end to unprecedented military exercises around Taiwan, which were launched last week to protest a visit to the self-ruled island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
While the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has announced that it will continue "routine patrol," Taiwan's Defense Ministry said its armed forces "will adjust how we deploy our forces considering multiple factors including troop morale and threats, without letting our guard down.”
Earlier, the PLA had said it had “successfully completed various missions during recent drills around Taiwan island and effectively tested the troops’ joint operation combat capacity.”
“The command will regularly organize combat readiness patrols in Taiwan Straits,” the PLA added.
The militaries of China and Taiwan avoided crossing the imaginary media line in the Taiwan Strait, but during the latest military drills, China fired ballistic missiles over the island nation, which fell into waters that Japan calls its exclusive economic zone. Beijing refutes the claim, saying the two countries are yet to demarcate their territorial waters.
China also dispatched a large number of military planes across the Taiwan Strait during these days.
The announcement came hours after China released a White Paper refusing to rule out the use of force to unify Taiwan with the mainland. However, it added that China will "work with great sincerity to achieve peaceful unification."
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry also said it detected 10 PLA Navy vessels and 36 PLA aircraft in "our surrounding region."
As many as 17 aircrafts had flown on the east part of the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said.
Pelosi paid a brief trip last Tuesday and Wednesday to the self-ruled island, the first in 25 years by a sitting US House speaker.
She made the visit despite Beijing's warnings that the island is a "breakaway province" and that her visit would be in violation of the country's "one-China policy."
Soon after she left Taipei, Beijing launched massive military exercises last Thursday which were scheduled to end on Sunday but were extended until this Wednesday.
Beijing also sanctioned Pelosi and her close family over the trip while downgrading military dialogue with the US and suspending cooperation in climate change besides six other “countermeasures.”
'Taiwan has 2 choices'
Soon after announcing the end of military exercises, China’s Defense Ministry said Taiwan has two choices and that Taipei “must make the right one.”
Cross-strait relations are again facing a choice between two futures, and the Taiwan authorities must make the right choice as to where the island goes,” Tan Kefei, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of National Defense, said in a statement.
For the well-being of the Taiwan compatriots, we are willing to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity and with the utmost efforts,” he said, adding, “But the Chinese People's Liberation Army will never leave room for any form of 'Taiwan independence' secessionist acts or interference by external forces.”
Meanwhile, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu posed with Ralph Gonsalves, the visiting prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines – a southern Caribbean nation comprising a main island, St. Vincent, and a chain of smaller islands – in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, “mere 12 miles from China’s military exercise zone,” Wu said, calling it a “sheer delight.”
“Taiwan and our great friends St. Vincent and the Grenadines aren't intimidated!” he added.
China views Taiwan as its “breakaway province” while Taipei has insisted on its independence since 1949 with full diplomatic relations with at least 14 nations.