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Taiwan's Tsai Lauds Country's 'determined' Fighter Pilots Amid China's Growing Aggression

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan has expressed her appreciation to frontline fighter pilots for their unwavering determination.

| Written By
sagar kar

Image: AP

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has expressed her appreciation to frontline fighter pilots for their unwavering determination in the face of Chinese military exercises that have recently concluded. On Friday, President Tsai visited an army base in Taichung, a central city in Taiwan, where she met with fighter pilots stationed at the frontline air base of Magong in the Taiwan Strait. 

According to a report from the Independent, she conveyed her gratitude for their hard work and dedication to their posts, maintaining a constant vigilance. In a video clip shared by the presidential office, President Tsai stated, "I want to tell everyone: as long as we are united, we can reassure the country's people and let the world see our determination to protect the nation."

She also reaffirmed Taiwan's commitment to protecting its sovereignty, democracy, and freedom while avoiding any escalation of conflict or provocation of disputes. She emphasised that the Taiwanese military will continue to enhance its combat preparedness through strengthening and upgrading its forces. President Tsai's meeting with frontline fighter pilots took place one week after her return to the island, following a controversial 10-day trip during which she met with US House of Representatives speaker Kevin McCarthy, despite warnings of potential retaliation from mainland China. Beijing recently conducted three days of military drills around Taiwan, implementing a simulated blockade and bombardment, further escalating tensions in the region.

Have the Chinese war games ended?

Despite formally ending on Monday, the war games in the waters around Taiwan continued on a reduced scale, according to Taiwan's defense ministry. Notably, there were no reports of Chinese military aircraft crossing the unofficial boundary of the Taiwan Strait median line, which Beijing does not recognise, in the past 24 hours. However, Taiwan's defense ministry stated that it had intercepted four Chinese military aircraft and eight warships in the vicinity of Taiwan.

President Tsai Ing-wen has highlighted Taiwan's ongoing efforts to upgrade its indigenous Ching-kuo Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) jets, which have been in service since 1997. She stressed the importance of continued improvements in software, hardware, and personnel training. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged his military to enhance its readiness for "real combat" in light of China's recent displays of force in the vicinity of Taiwan.

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