According to the army spokesman the day before, the armed forces are using the exercises with hundreds of soldiers and 40 howitzers to practice "countermeasures against simulated enemy attacks on Taiwan". The exercises had therefore been planned for some time and were not a reaction to China's maneuvers.
Taiwan regularly holds maneuvers simulating a Chinese invasion. In July, the Taiwanese military practiced countering attacks from the sea in a "joint intercept operation" as part of its largest annual drill.
China began massive military maneuvers in the waters around Taiwan last week after US top politician Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. Despite all the protests and contrary to its own announcements, China continued its military exercises on Monday. Beijing had actually announced that it wanted to end the exercises on Sunday.
Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Tuesday accused China of preparing for an attack on the island with its exercises. "China has used drills and its military strategy book to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan," the minister said at a news conference in Taipei. China is only using Pelosi's visit as an excuse. "China's true intention is to change the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and the entire region."
China is not only relying on its military exercises, but also on "cyber attacks, a disinformation campaign and economic pressure to weaken public morale in Taiwan". Wu thanked Western countries for supporting Taiwan: "This sends a clear message to the world that democracy will not bow to the intimidation of authoritarianism."
Since the split between China and Taiwan in 1949, Beijing has viewed the island as a breakaway territory that it wants to reunite with the mainland - if necessary, using military force. The conflict between Beijing and Taipei has recently intensified under Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has also fueled fears that Beijing could use a similar approach when dealing with Taiwan.