Taiwan defence ministry says PRC military drill footage is fake

Paramilitary policemen and members of a gun salute team fire cannons during a training session for a military parade at a military base in Beijing, China on August 1, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Ministry of National Defence (MND) deemed footage of Chinese live-fire drill by the military off China's south-eastern coast as false on Thursday, revealing it as clips taken from a 2015 video.

Days after the presidential elections held on Jan. 16, footage of the Chinese military conducting expansive exercises with live-fire were broadcast on a China Central Television programme on Wednesday night, reported the Central News Agency.

The news report did not include the date of when the exercises, reportedly off the coast of Xiamen, were held, only that they were conducted by the 31st Group Army of China's People's Liberation Army. This is also the first report of a military exercise following Taiwan's recent elections.

The MND assured the public through a press statement that the scenes were taken from videos of previous military exercises in 2015, and stated it was an exaggerated and "untrue report."

The footage did not match scenes of the military exercises conducted in winter, which were also held recently, the statement read.

"The MND has a full grasp of recent exercises held by the communist army" the statement said, reassuring the public.

A Response to DPP's Tsai?

The show of military prowess was viewed by local media as a response to President-elect and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen's statements on cross-strait relations, which were made in an interview with the Chinese-language Liberty Times.

Tsai had stated "understanding and respect" of the "1992 Consensus."

Future developments of cross-strait relations will follow the "existing political basis," Tsai stated.

The basis includes acceptance of the events that conspired in 1992 when cross-strait representatives met; a mutual consensus on the spirit of "setting aside differences to seek common ground"; results of the negotiations and discussions between both sides in the past 20 years, as well as upholding Taiwan's democratic principles and public consensus.

Ma Reiterates Stability

In an earlier event, President Ma Ying-jeou stated that a stable market required a peaceful and "outward" leaning political environment, reported local media.

He reiterated that the nation should not easily reject participation in the Chinese market. It would be a fatal blow for Taiwan if wrong policies were carried out, Ma warned.

In the past eight years, Ma stated that peace and prosperity across the strait were maintained through the "1992 Consensus." The "Ma-Xi Meeting" held on Nov. 7 last year was also a result of accumulated trust.

Referring to the "1992 Consensus" as a "bridge of peace" that spans over the Taiwan Strait, Ma showed confidence that it would be enough to maintain the peace and stability of cross-strait relations.

Ma further stated that the bridge could be used any time should future presidents follow the "1992 Consensus" and "one China" policy in their own implementations of cross-strait relations.

"There are still four months of my term in office," Ma also said. He stated that the government will continue to operate until May 19 and said "there will be no instances of caretaking or complacency."

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