May 28, 2024

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China continues military exercises near Taiwan

China continues military exercises near Taiwan

China announced on Monday that it would continue its military maneuvers near Taiwan despite calls from the West and Japan, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in response to a visit to the island.

• Read more: What the Taiwan Strait crisis has already taught us

• Read more: Taiwan has accused China of simulating an attack on the island

The day after Ms Pelosi’s departure from Taipei, the third-highest state in the US political establishment, the Chinese military began extensive “live fire” exercises on Thursday in six major areas around Taiwan.

The maneuvers, in any case in this configuration, will end at noon (04:00 GMT) on Sunday, according to the Chinese Maritime Security Administration, with the exercise aimed at “blocking” the territory, Chinese official media underlined. .

But they have continued ever since.

“The People’s Liberation Army (…) continues to conduct practical joint exercises in the sea and airspace around Taiwan, focusing on joint anti-submarine and maritime attack operations,” its Eastern Command announced in a press release on Monday.

He did not specify in which areas these maneuvers took place, or whether they were “direct fire” or not.

In recent days, China’s military has carried out the largest military exercise in its history, including the launch of fighter jets, warships, drones and missiles.

Because of their scale, they drew criticism from the diplomatic leaders of the G7 countries (the United States, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom), who considered these “aggressive” maneuvers to have “no justification.” .

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After China suspended Sino-US talks and cooperation, including on climate change, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called the Chinese reaction “total disparity”.

President Joe Biden said Monday he was “concerned” about the drills continuing, but said he did not expect an escalation.

Along with his Japanese and Australian counterparts, Mr. Blinken called on China to halt its military exercises.

Questioned on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin did not formally confirm the new drills were taking place, but ruled that Beijing’s reaction was “legitimate, rational and legal”.

“This is a warning to troublemakers and a lesson to supporters of Taiwan independence,” he said during a press conference, defending the “transparent and professional” military maneuvers.

“We urge the United States to do some soul searching and correct its mistake as soon as possible…and stop playing the Taiwan card as an obstacle to China’s (development).”

For its part, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the continuation of maneuvers that undermine the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and raise tensions in the region.

Taiwanese maneuvers

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s military said on Monday it had spotted 39 military aircraft and 13 Chinese ships in the strait, 21 of which crossed the median line – the unofficial demarcation line between China and Taiwan, which the former does not recognize.

However, Taiwan insisted that no Chinese aircraft or ship entered its territorial waters at any time.

Taiwan’s command announced Monday that live-fire military exercises simulating the island’s defense against a Chinese invasion, not in response to those already planned and conducted by China, will be organized this week.

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The armed forces will train on Tuesday and Thursday to counter a landing in the Pingtung region in the far south. According to the same source, several hundred soldiers and about 40 howitzers will be stationed in this environment.

Ballistic missiles flew over Taiwan this week, the first time, according to Chinese state television CCTV.

To demonstrate how close it has come to Taiwan’s shores, the Chinese military released a photo showing a navy building off Taiwan just a few hundred meters from one of its warships.

China considers Taiwan, with a population of about 23 million, as one of its provinces, which has not yet been unified with the rest of it since the end of the Chinese Civil War (1949).

Beijing opposes any attempt to grant international recognition to Taiwanese officials and opposes any official ties between Taiwan and other countries.

US officials visit the island frequently, but China sees Pelosi’s visit as a major provocation for her position.