HomeLatest NewsDangerous Signals: China's 'Punishment' Drills near Taiwan Amid Political Change

Dangerous Signals: China’s ‘Punishment’ Drills near Taiwan Amid Political Change

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Chinese state media reported on Thursday that China had initiated a series of military exercises in the area of Taiwan as “punishment”, for the swearing-in of the island’s new president.

Lai Ching Te, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party, won the January presidential elections in Taiwan. She was sworn into office on May 20, 2009. The People’s Liberation Army of China, in response to Taiwan’s continued assertion of independence, conducted joint naval and aircraft exercises near the island.

The “Taiwan Question” is one of Beijing’s most controversial issues. China views Taiwan as a rebellious area that must be reconciled to the mainland, and expects other nations to adopt a similar view. Several members of the international society are concerned that China may invade Taiwan one day and seize it by force if Taiwan does not surrender peacefully.

“Those like Lai Ching Te have betrayed both their nation and their ancestors.” Wang Webin (a spokesperson from the Chinese Foreign Ministry) warned reporters at a Wednesday press conference that Taiwanese independence forces would “be left with their heads shattered and blood flowing” should they challenge China, according to the Hindustan Times. He said, “What they did is disgraceful.”

Wang said, “They won’t be able to impede China’s complete reunification and Taiwan returning to embrace the motherland regardless of the gimmicks that they employ.” “The names and faces of all separatists advocating Taiwan’s autonomy will be inscribed onto the wall of shame.”

Li Xi informed Chinese state media that Eastern Theater Command, the PLA, began the exercises on Thursday and will continue until Friday. The PLA also conducts mock “precision attacks on key targets” as part of its operations to evaluate “real combat abilities of the forces under the command.”

The New York Times reported that Taiwanese forces detected 42 Chinese fighter planes, 16 coastguard vessels and 15 naval ships in the area of the island, as well as its smaller neighbors, on Thursday. No Chinese aircraft or vessels entered Taiwanese airspace or territory as of Thursday.

“The Armed Forces of the Republic of China is ready to protect our nation.” Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense announced on Thursday that, while it doesn’t prioritize conflict, it won’t hesitate to engage in it.

These exercises are the largest that China has ever conducted since Kevin McCarthy, former Speaker of the House in the United States, hosted Tsai ing-wen as President of Taiwan in Washington DC in April 2023. Beijing was angry at this event, because it is against bilateral relations between Taiwanese and other nations. Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of House, conducted more exercises during her visit to Taiwan in August 2022.

International apprehension has been sparked by the ongoing tensions between China, Taiwan and other countries. They fear that China may be preparing a full-scale attack that could lead to conflict with Western nations. The United States has a “One China’ policy and does NOT acknowledge Taiwanese Independence. It regards Taiwan as a staunch allie and has agreements to supply military equipment.

The United States also maintains “strategic uncertainty” about Taiwan, refusing to reveal whether it would defend the island militarily in the event of a incursion. White House forced to retract President Joe Biden’s statements that the United States will engage in conflict with China should it invade Taiwan repeatedly.

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