Chinese Taipei has rejected the “one country, two systems” plan proposed by China for the self-ruled island, launching yet another live-fire drill in the wake of China’s largest-ever military exercises around the breakaway province.
The Chinese government on Wednesday released a white paper on Taiwan, emphasizing peaceful reunification and “one country, two systems” as China’s basic principles for resolving the Taipei question and the best approach to national reunification.
Under the internationally-recognized “one-China” policy, nearly all countries recognize Beijing’s sovereignty over the island, including the United States. However, in violation of its own stated policy and in an attempt to irritate Beijing, Washington continues to court the secessionist government in Taipei, supporting its anti-China stance and supplying it with massive caches of armaments.
Inflaming tensions between the US and China, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi travelled to Taiwan on August 2, prompting Beijing to react with an unprecedented burst of military activity in the island’s surrounding waters that lasted for several days.
On Thursday, Taipei rejected the “one country, two systems” model proposed by Beijing, stressing that only the Taiwanese can decide the island’s future.
“China’s whole statement absolutely goes against the cross-strait status quo and its reality,” said Taipei’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou at a press conference.
“China is using US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit as an excuse to destroy the status quo and taking the opportunity to make trouble, attempting to create a new normal to intimidate the Taiwanese people,” she added.
Meanwhile, Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for Taiwan's Eighth Army Corps, said that its forces fired howitzers and target flares as part of the drills on Thursday morning.
According to the military official, the drills were conducted in Chinese Taipei’s southernmost county of Pingtung and lasted about an hour.
A live stream showed that the artillery weapons, tucked in from the coast, lined up side by side, with armed troopers in units firing the howitzers out to sea one after the other.
The self-ruled island also held a similar drill on Tuesday in the same county. Both drills included the deployments of hundreds of soldiers, the military said.
“We have two goals for the drills, the first is to certify the proper condition of the artillery and their maintenance condition and the second is to confirm the results of last year,” Lou further said, referring to annual drills.
This is while China stressed in its latest white paper that taking Taipei by force was still an option. “We will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities,” the document said on Wednesday.