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Warning to Taiwan and the West: China is holding major military exercises

Warning to Taiwan and the West: China is holding major military exercises

This maneuver is also considered “a severe punishment for the separatist forces demanding Taiwan independence and a serious warning,” according to Beijing. The army, navy, air force and missile forces participate in the exercises.

A few days after the inauguration of the new president in Taiwan, China announced a large-scale military exercise around this island republic in East Asia. “This is also a severe punishment for Taiwan independence separatist forces and a serious warning against interference and provocation by external forces,” spokesman for the People's Liberation Army's Eastern Branch, Marine Colonel Li Shi, said on Thursday.

Army, navy, air force and missile forces are scheduled to conduct exercises on Thursday and Friday in the strait between China and Taiwan (Taiwan Strait) and around Taiwan, which is about 130 kilometers wide at its narrowest point. This maneuver is expected to be the largest in about a year.

Combat readiness in the water and in the air

According to the information, the army wants to train joint combat readiness in the water and in the air, as well as attacks on key targets. The ships and aircraft will approach Taiwan from the north and south to conduct “patrols” and will also approach several islands, such as Kinmen Island, just a few kilometers from mainland China. The command said in a statement that the exercises will take place in the Taiwan Strait, northern, southern and eastern Taiwan, as well as the areas surrounding the Taiwan-controlled islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuxiu and Dongin. The training is scheduled to continue until Friday.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense condemned the military exercises, describing them as an “irrational provocation” that threatens peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Taipei said armed forces at sea, land and air were deployed “to defend freedom and democracy through practical measures.” The Ministry did not provide further details about these procedures.

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Daily flights of fighter aircraft

China considers Taiwan a breakaway province, although independent, democratically elected governments have been in power there for decades. The leadership in Beijing has threatened several times to unify the island, with a population of more than 23 million, and the mainland using coercive military force. In addition to the armed forces' regular exercises, fighter planes fly to Taiwan almost daily to display the military might of the People's Liberation Army.

The backdrop to the now-announced training is likely to be the inauguration of Taiwan's newly elected president, Lai Ching-tei, on Monday. His Democratic Progressive Party won the presidential elections in January and supports Taiwan independence. The ruling Communist Party in Beijing accuses the Democratic Progressive Party of secession. The warning should also apply to Taiwan's allies, especially the United States, which has assured the island republic of support in the event of its defense and regularly supplies it with weapons, much to Beijing's dismay.

“This is also a severe punishment for the separatist actions of the Taiwan independence forces and a severe warning against interference and provocation by external forces,” the Chinese leadership added. China considers Lai a “separatist” and condemned his inauguration speech. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi this week called Lai “disgraceful.” “I would also like to call on China to stop its political and military threats against Taiwan,” Lai said.

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