Home Asia Blatant Provocation, Says Taiwan As Chinese Military Drills End

Blatant Provocation, Says Taiwan As Chinese Military Drills End

China-Taiwan tensions

China has concluded two days of military exercises around Taiwan, which involved simulated attacks with bombers and practising boarding ships. Taiwan condemned these actions as a “blatant provocation,” noting an increase in Chinese warplanes and warships in the region.

Chinese state television’s military channel announced the conclusion of the exercises on Friday. According to the People’s Liberation Army Daily, the drills, named “Joint Sword – 2024A,” lasted from Thursday to Friday as initially planned.

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, initiated these exercises shortly after Lai Ching-te took office as Taiwan’s president. Beijing labelled Lai a “separatist” and described the drills as “punishment” for his inauguration speech.

In his speech, Lai asserted that Taiwan and China are not subordinate to each other, a statement Beijing interpreted as a declaration of independence.

Despite offering talks with China, Lai’s overtures have been rejected. He insists that only Taiwan’s people can determine their future and rejects China’s sovereignty claims. Taiwan’s government has denounced the drills, affirming they will not yield to Chinese pressure.

On Friday, Taiwan’s defence ministry reported detecting 62 Chinese military aircraft and 27 naval ships. Among these, 46 planes crossed the Taiwan Strait’s median line, an unofficial boundary between Taiwan and China.

The aircraft included advanced Su-30 fighters and nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, which flew into both the Taiwan Strait and the Bashi Channel, separating Taiwan from the Philippines.

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The ministry also released footage of a Chinese J-16 fighter and an H-6 bomber, although it did not specify the location.

Taiwan’s presidential office criticised China’s military activities, stating they undermined the peaceful and stable status quo in the Taiwan Strait. The office also noted that these actions were a provocation to the international order, eliciting significant concern and condemnation globally.

The Chinese military’s Eastern Theatre Command, responsible for the drills, released a video on social media on Saturday. The video, titled “A six-word rhyme on smashing independence,” featured martial music and showcased military activities, including mock missile attacks on Taiwan.

In the past four years, China has regularly conducted military activities around Taiwan, including large-scale war games in 2022 and 2023. However, senior Taiwanese lawmaker Wang Ting-yu from Lai’s Democratic Progressive Party suggested that the latest drills were less intense, possibly a response to Lai’s speech.

The People’s Liberation Army Daily, representing the military’s voice, accused Lai of acting as a “pawn” for external forces to hinder China’s development. The commentary warned that if separatist forces in Taiwan persisted, the PLA would take decisive action to crush any separatist plots.

With inputs from Reuters