President Tsai Ing-wen (???) said China firing missiles near busy international flight and sea routes around Taiwan on Thursday is an irresponsible act that stirs up tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, demanding Beijing act with greater self-restraint.
Taiwan will not escalate the tensions amid China's ongoing live-fire drills in maritime areas around the island that run through Aug. 7, but will defend the country's sovereignty, Tsai said in a speech of nearly four minutes posted on the Presidential Office website on Thursday evening.
The government is working to ensure safe and smooth operations at sea ports and airports around the country, as well as the stability of the financial markets, she added.
The president's speech came after the Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed the Chinese military fired 11 ballistic missiles into waters off northeastern and southwestern parts of Taiwan that afternoon.
According to the Japanese Defense Ministry, four of the missiles are believed to have flown over Taiwan before landing in Japan's exclusive economic zone.
However, the MND would not confirm whether the missiles were fired over Taiwan, saying only that the military is using various early-warning and monitoring mechanisms to track missiles fired by the PLA and has activated related defense systems.
Tsai urged the international community to support Taiwan's democracy and to jointly oppose China's unilateral and irrational military action, as Taiwan seeks to work with countries in the region and democratic partners around the world to maintain peace in the Indo-Pacific region.
The president also warned the Taiwanese public about the information warfare initiated by China through cyber attacks and the spreading of false information.
She thanked the Group of Seven leading industrial nations for calling on Beijing to refrain from "aggressive military activity" in the Taiwan Strait and reiterating their commitment to ensure stability across the strait.
"We strive to maintain the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, and always keep an open mind for constructive dialogues," Tsai said.
She ended the speech by calling for unity in Taiwan, noting the country has always overcome the challenges it faces.
China first announced its planned military drills around Taiwan from Thursday to Sunday shortly after United States House Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's arrival in Taiwan Tuesday night for an unannounced visit during her ongoing trip in Asia.
During her 19-hour stay in Taipei, Pelosi met with Tsai, lawmakers, human right activists, as well as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Chairman Mark Liu (???).
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel