STORY: Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen addressed hundreds of the island's navy service members on Thursday -- to thank them for their service amid quote "indescribable" pressure from China.
China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own, has ramped up military exercises around the island this month in the wake of a high-profile diplomatic visit from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
During a visit to the Suao naval base on Taiwan's northeastern coast, Tsai told sailors that fulfilling their mission in the tight confines of a ship must have been difficult.
"In the face of China's harassment and provocation outside Taiwan's territorial waters, it is even more necessary to keep an eye on the dynamics of enemy ships all the time."
"In this period, everyone has shown firm and unwavering courage, responded calmly, and showed solid and long lasting results in the face of real threats. Not only guarding maritime security but also maintaining regional peace and prosperity. For such a performance, I must give the highest affirmation and respect."
Tsai has repeatedly emphasized that Taiwan will neither provoke nor escalate conflict during the crisis, and the island's defense ministry has stressed its "calm" response to Chinese military activity.
Although the scale of China's military drills has dropped off significantly from earlier in the month, Taiwan continues to report Chinese fighters and warships operating around the island.