World News

China Concludes Military Exercises Near Taiwan

By Jill Lorentz

May 25, 2024

101

China has concluded two days of military drills around Taiwan, featuring jets armed with live ammunition and warships tasked to practice the capture and isolation of the self-governed island. The exercises included simulated strikes on Taiwan's leaders as well as its ports and airports in an effort to 'cut off the island's 'blood vessels,'' according to Chinese military analysts.


Beijing views democratic Taiwan as part of its territory and hasn't dismissed using force to assert control over it. The mock attacks started Thursday morning, involving air forces and naval vessels targeting 'important targets,' state broadcaster CCTV reported.


The latest series of drills, codenamed 'Joint Sword-2024A,' began three days after Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te took office. China criticized Lai’s inauguration speech as a declaration of independence.


Wu Qian, Beijing's defense ministry spokesperson warned that Lai was steering Taiwan into a dangerous situation by provoking them regarding independence. Wu added that every time such provocations occur they push their countermeasures up a notch until reunification is achieved.


Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949 when nationalists sought refuge there following their defeat by the Chinese Communist Party in mainland China's civil war.


Recently, Beijing has escalated intimidation tactics against Taiwan through large-scale military exercises surrounding the island. Official rhetoric from China about these activities also seems more provocative than before with foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin warning that any efforts towards Taiwanese independence will result in severe repercussions for those involved.


In response to these events, Karen Kuo from Presidential Office stated that China’s unilateral actions not only disrupt peace and stability across the strait but are also an open challenge to international order itself.


According to reports from Taipei’s defence ministry around 111 aircrafts along with dozens of naval ships participated during this two-day drill sequence which were happening closer than ever near Taiwanese waters according Meng Xiangqing – A professor at National Defense University in Beijing.


China had conducted similar drills last year too after Taiwanese leaders visited the United States. The scale of these recent exercises though significant, were not as large as those held last August, according Wen-Ti Sung – a non-resident fellow at Atlantic Council's Global China Hub.


Analysts have noticed that the geographic scope of these drills has increased with newer emphasis on isolating Taiwan's outlying islands.


The continued dispute over Taiwan makes it one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints. Both the United Nations and United States have urged all involved parties to avoid escalation and act with restraint respectively.


Lloyd Austin, Defense Secretary is expected to meet his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun later this month during Shangri-La Dialogue - an annual meeting for defense officials worldwide.


According to analyst from Atlantic Council, Beijing aims to deter other nations from cooperating or engaging further with Taiwan through such high-profile displays of force thereby increasing its isolation which will allow them negotiate from a position strength going forward.


Chinese military expert Meng emphasized that drills in east direction (where external intervention is most likely) sends clear message that they can control even eastern areas which separatists considered their safe haven thus demonstrating Beijing’s readiness for any eventuality regarding Taiwan issue.


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