China responds to Taiwan's calls for peaceful dialogue with live fire drill

Taiwanese president's call for peaceful dialogue met with live fire exercise slated for Tuesday

Scene of PLA troops taking part in amphibious landing exercise. (CCTV screenshot)

Scene of PLA troops taking part in amphibious landing exercise. (CCTV screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — On the same day that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) delivered a speech calling on China to engage in peaceful dialogue with Taiwan, Beijing announced it would be holding live-fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait.

During her speech marking Taiwan's National Day in front of the Presidential Office Building on Saturday (Oct. 10), Tsai offered an olive branch to the Chinese Communist Party by saying that "if Beijing can heed Taiwan's voice, change the way it handles cross-strait relations, and jointly facilitate cross-strait reconciliation and peaceful dialogue, I believe that regional tension can surely be resolved." Her offer of peaceful dialogue came amid the 16th intrusion of Chinese warplanes into Taiwan's air defense identification zone that day.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office responded to Tsai's speech that day by doubling down on Beijing's insistence that she first recognize the "1992 Consensus" before any cross-strait dialogue can be resumed. China has been seeking to punish Taiwan since Tsai refused to acknowledge the alleged consensus when she first came to office in 2016.

According to a ban on navigation issued by the Management Committee of the Gulei Port Economic Development Zone in Zhangzhou, Fujian Province, a People's Liberation Army (PLA) unit is scheduled to conduct live-fire exercises in the waters east of Fujian's Gulei Peninsula from Tuesday to Saturday (Oct. 13 to 17).

The announcement states that the restricted areas include the waters of Hongyu Islet and Hengyu Island in the Liu'ao Peninsula's Dajianshan Reef in the north, Shazhou Island in the west, and 10 kilometers south and 12 km east of Hengyu Island off the coast of Fujian Province.

The exact coordinates of the live fire range are Sea Point A: 23-48-35n 117-40-35e; Sea Point B: 23-56-50n 117-48-00e; Sea Point C: 23-52-50n 117-53-10e; and Sea Point D: 23-44-30n 117-45-40e.

The notice requires all civilian vessels and personnel to clear the area before 3 p.m. on Monday (Oct. 12). China's state-run mouthpiece the Global Times on Sunday (Oct. 11) cited "Taiwan media" as saying that the live-fire drills will be held less than 100 km away from the outlying Taiwanese island of Kinmen.