Home China Taiwan Reports Chinese Military Patrol Amid Rising Tensions

Taiwan Reports Chinese Military Patrol Amid Rising Tensions

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Taiwan’s defence ministry announced on Wednesday that China conducted another “joint combat readiness patrol” near the island. This move comes as Beijing vows to track down and punish “diehard” independence supporters.

Escalating Tensions

China, which considers Taiwan a breakaway province, has expressed strong disapproval of Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te, labelling him a “separatist.” Following his inauguration last month, China staged two days of war games. Last week, China escalated tensions further by threatening to execute “diehard” Taiwan independence separatists in extreme cases, a statement condemned by Lai, his government and the United States.

Military Activities

Starting at 7 am (2300 GMT) on Wednesday, Taiwan detected 26 Chinese military aircraft, including J-16 fighters, operating around the island. These activities were part of a “joint combat readiness patrol” involving Chinese warships. Taiwan’s defence ministry reports such missions frequently, describing them as part of an escalating pattern of Chinese harassment over the past four years.

China’s Legal Stance

During a regular briefing in Beijing, a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office defended the new guidelines to punish separatists. Zhu Fenglian asserted that China has the legal right to protect its territorial integrity. She stated that Chinese law enforcement and judicial bodies would pursue and severely punish “Taiwan independence diehards” regardless of their location.

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Zhu clarified that these “precision punishments” do not target the majority of Taiwanese people. She emphasised the legal foundation for punishing crimes of secession and incitement to secession under Chinese law. However, it remains unclear how China could enforce these judgments outside its borders, as Chinese courts have no jurisdiction in Taiwan.

Call For Dialogue

President Lai has consistently offered talks with China but those overtures have been rejected. Lai denies Beijing’s claims of sovereignty and insists that only the people of Taiwan can determine their future.

The recent military patrol by China near Taiwan underscores the ongoing and intensifying tensions between the two sides. As both nations maintain firm stances on sovereignty and independence, the potential for conflict remains a significant concern.

With inputs from Reuters