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China Holds Military Drills Around Taiwan As ‘Punishment’

China launched two days of military exercises on Thursday to encircle Taiwan, which it considers a “strong punishment” for the island’s “separatist acts”.

The exercises come after Lai Ching-te was sworn in this week as Taiwan’s new president and delivered an inauguration speech that China denounced as a “confession of independence.”

Communist China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has pledged to submit the island to its rule, by force if necessary.

The exercises on Thursday and Friday involve military aircraft and warships surrounding the island.

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This will “test the actual joint combat capabilities of the command forces,” the Chinese military said.

Taiwan reacted quickly to China’s announcement Thursday morning, announcing that it had deployed forces to “defend freedom.”

“The Ministry of National Defense strongly condemned these provocations and irrational actions which undermine regional peace and stability.

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“We have sent sea, air and land forces to respond … to the defense of the freedom, democracy and sovereignty of the Republic of China,” he said, referring to Taiwan by its official name.

On Tuesday, China warned of strong retaliation for Lai’s speech, in which he hailed a “glorious” new era of democracy for Taiwan.

Senior diplomat Wang Yi also warned that “Taiwanese separatists will be nailed to the pillar of shame of history.”

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China had previously called Lai a “dangerous separatist” who would bring “war and decline” to the island.

The Chinese exercises “will focus on joint air-sea combat readiness patrol, jointly seizing complete control of the battlefield and joint precision strikes on key targets,” said spokesman Col. Li Xi. of the Eastern Theater Naval Command of the People’s Liberation Army.

They are taking place in the Taiwan Strait and in the north, south and east of the island and started at 7:45 a.m. (11:45 p.m. GMT), Li said.

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This week’s exercises will also take place around the outer islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin, he added.

“Ships and aircraft arrived on combat patrols near the island of Taiwan… to test the actual joint combat capabilities of theater forces,” Li said.

The drills would also serve as “a severe punishment for the separatist acts of ‘Taiwan independence’ forces and a stern warning against interference and provocation by external forces,” he said.

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Beijing, which separated from Taipei at the end of the civil war in 1949, views the island as a renegade province with which it must eventually be reunified and has refused to rule out the use of military force to do so.

Relations have deteriorated in recent years as China has stepped up pressure on the democratic island, periodically stoking concerns about a possible invasion.

Beijing “clearly feels it needs to send a very strong message to Lai and all those who support him,” analyst Bill Bishop wrote in his influential Sinocism newsletter.

“I would be surprised if this new exercise was smaller and less threatening than last year’s,” he said.

The last time China announced similar military exercises around Taiwan was in August 2023, after Lai, then vice president, stopped in the United States for a visit to Paraguay.

These exercises also tested the PLA’s ability “to take control of air and maritime spaces” and to fight “in real combat conditions”, according to state media.

Beijing then described them as a “severe warning”.

They followed April drills simulating the encirclement of the island, triggered after Lai’s predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen, met with then-Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy in California.

China also launched major military exercises in 2022 after then-Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.

The country also held exercises when then-President Tsai later transited through the United States.

World powers want to see as much stability as possible between China and Taiwan, particularly because of the vital role the island plays in the global economy.

The Taiwan Strait is one of the world’s most important maritime trade arteries, and the island itself is a major manufacturer of technology, particularly of vital semiconductors – the tiny chips used in everything from smartphones to missile systems.

News Source : www.barrons.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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