'Taiwan's Independence Means War': Warns China; Says PLA Ready To Take Strict Actions Against Any Attempts

Chinese military spokesperson said that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is ready to take resolute actions to counter any "Taiwan independence".

Taiwanese guided missile destroyers monitoring that of China's. Photo: AP

The Chinese military on Thursday warned Taiwan that its independence would mean "war", saying that it was ready to take firm actions to thwart any foreign interference in support of "separatist activities" in the self-ruled island.

Chinese military spokesperson senior Colonel Wu Qian told reporters that China's reunification is an irreversible trend of history, adding that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is ready to take resolute actions to counter any "Taiwan independence".

The warning comes weeks after Lai Ching-te took charge as Taiwan's president on May 20. The 64-year-old leader took over the reigns from his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) colleague Tsai Ing-wen.

China views Taiwan as a rebel province which must again become a part of the mainland, even if it is by force.

Though Lai's DPP does not seek independence from China, it maintains that the estranged island is already a sovereign nation.

In his inaugural speech, Lai urged China to stop threatening the island and called on Beijing to work jointly for peace. He promised to uphold the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.

Meanwhile, Colonel Wu said that Lai's speech is an admission of his attempts to seek "Taiwan independence" by force and by depending on external forces.

The PLA strongly opposes this confession and has also responded with stern counter-measures, Wu added. He said, "Separatist activities seeking 'Taiwan independence' constitute the biggest real threat to peace across the Taiwan Strait."

The Chinese military spokesperson said that the PLA emphasises the mission of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He said that China, while keeping strict vigil, is fully prepared and ready to take actions against Taiwan's attempts towards independence.

Just days after Lai's swearing-in as the new president of the island, China also held extensive military exercise around Taiwan.

The encircling of vessels and warplanes of Taiwan was done in retaliation to President Lai's remarks rejecting Beijing's sovereignty claims over the self-ruled island.

"The drills also serve as a strong punishment for the separatist acts of 'Taiwan independence' forces and a stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces," the PLA Eastern Theatre Command had said.

The drill, which was kicked off on May 16, took place all around the main island, including the Taiwan Strait to its west, and around the Taiwanese islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqui and Dongyin.

China's People Liberation Army said that the main focus of these drills were 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.

(With agency inputs)