China has been accused of "game planning" for an invasion of Taiwan as the Asian superpower extends aggressive military drills in the wake of Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit to the democratic island claimed by Beijing.
Taiwan's foreign minister on Tuesday accused China of using the military drills to prepare for an invasion of the self-ruled island.
"China has used the drills in its military playbook to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan," Joseph Wu told a news conference in Taipei.
"It is conducting large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyberattacks, disinformation, and economic coercion, in an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan.
"After the drills conclude, China may try to routinise its action in an attempt to wreck the long-term status quo across the Taiwan Strait."
China is showing no signs of letting up, describing the ongoing drills as "punishment" for "independent forces" in Taiwan.
Urging greater international support to stop China effectively controlling the strait, Mr Wu said the country's actions are threatening regional security and provide "a clear image of China's geostrategic ambitions beyond Taiwan".
On Tuesday, China's Foreign Minister would not be drawn on whether the military drills conducted around Taiwan, including the firing of ballistic missile last week, could be considered the "new normal".
"This is both a warning we send to the provocateurs and a legitimate step to uphold sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said.
Australia labels China's ongoing drills 'very concerning'
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles has again called for de-escalation in the Taiwan Straight after Taiwan praised Australia's condemnation of the ongoing military exercises.
"I think what we are seeing is very concerning," he told ABC News Breakfast on Wednesday morning.
"I think the more that we are seeing drills of this kind, the greater the risk of miscalculation."
Mr Marles said it was critical for the region to return to a much more peaceful and normal set of behaviours, but would not be drawn on whether he shared the view of Taiwan that the ongoing drills amounted to dress rehearsal for invasion.
"Our position, as I say, is underpinned by not wanting to see any change to the status quo across the Taiwan Strait," he said.
While the drills were initially due to end over the weekend, China's Eastern Theatre Command said on Monday it would conduct fresh joint drills focusing on anti-submarine and sea assault operations, confirming the fears of some security analysts and diplomats.
On Tuesday, the command said it continued to hold military drills and exercises in the seas and airspace around Taiwan, with warships, fighters as well as early warning, refuelling and jamming aircraft "under a complex electromagnetic environment to refine joint containment and control capabilities".
US confident China won't invade in next two years
Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong last week co-wrote a joint statement with her US and Japanese counterparts condemning China's showing of force, drawing a rebuke from China who accused Australia of violating "the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs".
Chinese president Xi Jinping has consistently said he reserves the right to use force to reunify Taiwan and bring it under control of Beijing, as analysts speculate over when a move by the Chinese military could take place.
According to Reuters, the White House doesn't believe that will happen in the immediate future.
A Pentagon official said on Monday (local time) that Washington was sticking to its assessment that China would not try to invade Taiwan for the next two years, it reported.
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