KEY QUOTES ABOUT CHINA'S MILITARY DRILLS AROUND TAIWAN

(Reuters) -Taiwan's military mobilised its forces after China started two days of "punishment" drills around Taiwan on Thursday in what it said was a response to "separatist acts", and after new Taiwan President Lai Ching-te delivered his inauguration speech.

Here are some reactions to the military drills:

COLLIN KOH, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE INSTITUTE OF DEFENCE AND STRATEGIC STUDIES IN SINGAPORE:

"The drill is not meant to accomplish anything more than warn the just-inaugurated Lai administration that they are more than ready to react, and to deter any moves towards so-called Taiwan independence.

"These opposing forces could actually be operating in pretty close proximity. The Taiwan forces are not just shadowing the individual Chinese assets... that brings them into direct contact with Chinese forces... there is the risk of inadvertent or accidental military clashes."

VICTOR GAO, CHAIR PROFESSOR AT SOOCHOW UNIVERSITY, CHINA:

"I believe Lai Ching-te's May 20 speech is a declaration of war because he clearly distinguished China from Taiwan and completely destroyed the one-China principle.

China wants to show that if Lai still wants to take the path of Taiwan independence... it can make Taiwan collapse without a war within a week or two, which will deal a fatal blow to the people of Taiwan. I think cross-Strait relations have reached a watershed, if Lai dares take a wrong step forward then there will be a cataclysm."

YOSHIMASA HAYASHI, CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY, JAPAN:

"We hope for the issues over Taiwan to be resolved peacefully through dialogue; that has been our consistent position. It is important to clearly communicate the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait directly to China, and work closely with allies including the United States and clearly communicate the shared position of each country."

SONG ZHONGPING, CHINESE MILITARY EXPERT, IN HONG KONG:

"Due to the aggressiveness of Taiwan independence forces in recent days, the PLA is trying to tell both the 'Taiwan independence' forces and external forces that it is capable of eliminating the 'Taiwan independence' force with the speed and momentum of a thunderbolt through this large-scale drill."

CHINA'S STATE BROADCASTER:

"Throughout his speech Lai Ching-te used the word 'China' to refer to mainland China, and used the word 'country' to refer to Taiwan. He promoted separatist fallacies such as the so-called sovereignty, independence, and non-subordination of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theater Command carried out a joint drill around Taiwan Island, which was a firm punishment for Lai Ching-te’s provocation."

TAIWAN'S DEFENCE MINISTRY:

"The launch of military exercises on this occasion not only does not contribute to the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait, it also highlights (China's) militaristic mentality."

WU XINBO, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRE FOR AMERICAN STUDIES AT FUDAN UNIVERSITY IN SHANGHAI:

"The drills encircling the island, is giving him (Taiwan's new President Lai Ching-te) a blow on the head in order to shock and awe Lai and Taiwan independence forces on the island. This is also certainly a blow to the U.S.

This year's Joint Sword-2024A drills are very strong in intensity, showing that the mainland is willing to increase its deterrence towards Taiwan independence forces and strengthen its capability to mould the Taiwan Strait situation in response to the domestic changes in Taiwan. I believe that the shock and awe military drills from today onwards will be a routine occurrence."

LIEUTENANT GENERAL STEPHEN SKLENKA, DEPUTY COMMANDER US INDO PACIFIC COMMAND, IN CANBERRA:

"The normalisation of abnormal actions, that's what's happening. Just because we expect that behaviour doesn't mean we shouldn't condemn it. We need to condemn it publicly and it needs to come from us but it also needs to come from nations in the region ... it is far more powerful when it comes from nations in this region. It is concerning but I also believe in my heart of hearts that conflict between our two nations is not inevitable and its not a foregone conclusion."

(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; Writing by Michael Perry. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

2024-05-23T07:15:16Z dg43tfdfdgfd