Taiwan started its preparation for its National Day on October 10, beaming nightly laser shows, despite increasing Chinese military incursions.
The Taiwan Presidential Palace lit up the night sky, Monday, October 5, with dazzling laser light shows.
The theme for the shows this year is “Confident Island, Greet the Sunrise.” It showcases the island’s achievements, especially in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Also being held in the city is Nuit Blanche, an international all-night arts festival in Taipei with a hundred artists creating 20 art installations and holding 50 performances.
Threats from China
Meanwhile on Tuesday, October 6, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen warned Taiwan will not “yield an inch” in defending itself, as new figures revealed the island is scrambling fighter jets at more than double the rate of last year in response to Chinese incursions.
Authoritarian China views democratic Taiwan as its own territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary, even though the island has been self-ruled for the last seven decades.
Taipei’s fighters have taken to the skies to ward off Chinese warplanes more than 4,100 times so far this year, making about 22 sorties a day on average, according to the military – 129% up on all of 2019.
Naval ships have been dispatched more than 7,500 times, compared with fewer than 6,000 for all of last year, according to a defense ministry report submitted to parliament.
“Faced with Chinese communists’ sabre-rattling and intimidations… we should demonstrate our belief not to yield an inch of our territory and sovereignty,” President Tsai said Tuesday as she inspected an air force base.
In recent months Beijing has piled on military pressure even more than usual, ramping up the number of ships, bombers and fighter jets it buzzes or sends into Taiwan’s defense zones.
Analysts say the tactic is aimed at demoralizing Taiwan and keeping its aging equipment under pressure.
“Since this year Chinese communist forces have been frequently engaging in military actions and provocations targeting us… to pose more grave challenges to our national defence and security,” the military report to parliament said.
Premier Su Tseng-chang said the “constant harassing” by Chinese military aircraft and vessels had “increased the burden” for Taiwan.
Local media estimated that fighter jet sorties this year had cost at least Tw$4.1 billion ($137 million).
Beijing’s bellicose stance towards Taiwan has increased under President Xi Jinping.
It is also a response to the election of Tsai, who – like a growing number of Taiwanese – rejects the idea that the island is part of “one China”.
Washington’s increased outreach to Taiwan under President Donald Trump has become yet another flashpoint with Beijing as US-China relations plunge to historic lows.
The US diplomatically recognizes Beijing but remains Taiwan’s most important ally and is bound by Congress to provide the island with defensive weapons. – with reports from Agence France Presse/Rappler.com