Military to remain vigilant amid Chinese Airforce intrusions: Tsai

President Tsai Ing-wen. (Photo courtesy of CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Tuesday called on Taiwan’s military to remain vigilant in the wake of frequent incursions by Chinese Airforce planes into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the past few weeks.

In her address during a conferral ceremony where she promoted 20 senior military personnel, the president said China continues to pressure Taiwan militarily by increasing the frequency with which it sends military aircraft and vessels to operate near the nation’s waters and airspace.

The armed forces need to closely monitor the waters and airspace around the country to keep the nation safe, she added.

Tsai made the comments a day after two Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s ADIZ on Monday for a second day in a row and the sixth time in seven days.

Chieh Chung (揭仲), a research fellow at local think tank the National Policy Foundation, previously told CNA that the spate of recent incursions could be intended by Beijing as a “stress test” of Taiwan’s defense capabilities.

Photo courtesy of CNA

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s ceremony saw five military officers promoted to the rank of two-star general or lieutenant-general and vice admiral, with a further 15 elevated to the rank of one-star general or major-general and rear admiral, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND).

The promoted senior officers come from all branches of the armed forces as well as the National Security Bureau and their promotions officially take effect next month, the ministry said.

Among the promoted generals were MND Director of Legal Affairs Shen Shih-wei (沈世偉) who has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general.

Shen is the first senior military official from the military’s legal branch to be promoted to the rank of two-star general in nine years.

Another highlight of Tuesday’s ceremony was Lee Chi-huan (李其桓), chief of staff of the Army’s Huadong Defense Command in eastern Taiwan, who was promoted to the rank of major-general.

While other generals stood tall as family members or subordinates placed the rank insignia on their shoulders, Lee got down on one knee to make it easier for his mother to do so.

Lee told reporters afterwards that he wanted to express his gratitude to his mother and family who have long supported his military career.