STORY: Taiwan’s air force displayed its anti-aircraft capabilities on Thursday – saying they were ready for action 24 hours a day.
The democratically governed island is facing growing pressure from Chinese military drills.
China – which claims Taiwan as its territory – has carried out military exercises around the island this month after a visit by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and five U.S. lawmakers, led by Senator Ed Markey, on Sunday (August 14) and Monday (August 15).
Pelosi’s visit infuriated China – which responded with test launches of ballistic missiles over Taipei for the first time – and sent warships and fighter jets close to the island.
On a government-organized media trip to Taiwan's crucial air base in Hualien, the Air Force showed off its anti-aircraft systems.
Taiwanese Air defense officer Chen Te-huan said the increased tensions did not faze them:
"We were not nervous at all at that time (during China's military exercises), as our regular training is prepared for all-day, 24-hour missile operations. When the Chinese military acted, we were already well prepared. Our soldiers followed the SOP (standard operating procedure), which is our troop training program, as per normal. So actually we were not nervous at all, we were just excited to finish our mission."
There have been no clashes between Taiwan’s air force and Chinese fighters.
China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.
Taiwan's government says that because the People's Republic of China has never ruled the island, it has no right to claim it or decide its future, which can only be set by Taiwan's people.