China’s military drills around Taiwan, ‘punishment’ for new president

Image courtesy of AP

China’s military announced today that it has started two days of military exercises encircling Taiwan, calling the drills a ‘strong punishment’ against the island’s new president and a ‘stern warning’ against outside interference.

The drills follow the inauguration of Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te on Monday, whom Beijing has condemned as a separatist.

According to China’s Eastern Theater Command overseeing the Taiwan Strait, the live-fire drills, expected to take place until tomorrow are being conducted on all sides of the Taiwan island as well as the outlying islands close to the Chinese coast.

“The exercises involve the integrated operation of our forces to test real combat capabilities.”

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The drill zones include areas in the Taiwan Strait and waters to the north, south, and east of Taiwan, as well as near the islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin.

The Chinese military claims that these drills, involving the integrated operation of its forces were merely dispatched to examine its combat capabilities. Testing its ability to seize control of the battlefield, carry out precision strikes against key targets, and conduct naval/air patrols around Taiwan through integrated joint operations.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry criticised the Chinese drills, viewing them as “irrational provocations that undermine regional peace and stability.”

The Taiwanese military has been deployed in response to monitor the situation and ensure the island’s security.

In his inauguration speech, President Lai insisted Taiwan is a sovereign, independent nation and is not subordinate to China while vowing to maintain the status quo. He also urged Beijing to stop its military threats and political pressure campaign against the island.

The new drills mark an escalation in cross-strait tensions, following China’s large-scale military exercises last August surrounding Taiwan in response to a visit by then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

While China claims Taiwan as its territory, the two sides have been governed separately since a civil war in 1949. Beijing has not ruled out the use of force to bring the island under its control, reported Khaosod English.

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Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

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