China says it has conducted more military exercises around Taiwan


The latest Chinese exercises in Taiwan are the second major military exercises in less than a month.

China’s military has said it has conducted military exercises around the self-governed island of Taiwan, targeting land and seaborne assaults, the second such exercise in less than a month.

The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement late Sunday that its forces had organized “joint combat readiness patrols and actual combat exercises” in the sea and airspace around Taiwan, which Beijing claims is its own.

The purpose of the exercises was to test joint combat capabilities and “resolutely counter the provocative actions of outside forces and Taiwan’s separatist independence forces,” Senior Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesman for the command, said in a brief statement.

Taiwan’s presidential office said China was making “baseless allegations” and strongly condemned the exercises, saying that the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait and the region was the joint responsibility of both Taiwan and China.

Taiwan’s position is very clear, in that it will not escalate conflict or provoke disputes, but will vigorously defend its sovereignty and security, the agency said in a statement.

“The country’s military is closely monitoring the situation in the Taiwan Strait and the surrounding area and is responding calmly. Our people can rest easy,” it added.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said on Monday it had detected 57 Chinese military aircraft and four naval vessels operating around the island in the past 24 hours and shared maps on Twitter to show their flight paths.

About 28 of the aircraft flew into the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) off southwestern Taiwan, it added, some crossing the centerline of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial buffer between the two sides. Two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers flew to southern Taiwan, the ministry’s map showed.

China conducted similar exercises late last month after the United States passed a defense spending bill that included support for Taiwan, with Taipei reporting 43 Chinese aircraft crossing the centerline. That same week, Taipei announced that it would extend mandatory military service from the current four months to one year from 2024.

China, which has not ruled out using force to take control of the island, has stepped up military activity in the waters and airspace near Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen was first elected president in 2016. But tensions rose significantly in August last year after then-Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited the island.

The government of Taiwan says only the Taiwanese people can decide the future of the island and has pledged to defend itself if attacked by China.

Beijing’s latest moves come as MPs from Germany arrived on Monday ahead of an expected ministerial visit later this year.

The visit was a “sign of solidarity” with the self-governed democracy, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chair of the parliament’s defense committee and a leader of the senior delegation, told AFP news agency.

Delegates from the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) — a junior partner in Germany’s coalition government — were due to meet “senior figures from politics, civil society and the military,” Strack-Zimmermann said, and the current “threat situation” discuss. .

The Chinese military sent 1,727 aircraft to ADIZ in Taiwan in 2022, according to data from the Taiwanese government. That compares to about 960 raids in 2021 and 380 in 2020.

The US has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is required by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

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