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China begins military drills near Taiwan – after island’s leader met with US speaker

China began three days of military drills around Taiwan as a retaliation to a meeting between the US House of Representatives speaker, and the president of Taiwan’s self-ruled island.

One Chinese amphibious land ship, capable of transporting troops and craft, began live-fire drills on Saturday morning in the waters facing the Taiwan Strait. Meanwhile, 42 Chinese fighter jets were detected nearby the island.

According to the People’s Liberation Army, the three-day “combat ready patrols” were an alarm to those in Taiwan who wish to make the island’s independence permanent.

According to the Taiwanese military, missile defense systems were activated. Air and sea patrols were sent to track Chinese aircraft.


Taiwan’s defense ministry released a statement saying that it condemned the act.

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Taiwan’s democracy is ‘under threat’

China announced the drills following Taiwan’s president TsaiIng-wen’s return to Taipei on Thursday from Los Angeles. She met House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

After a civil war in 1949, Taiwan was separated from China. The ruling Communist Party claims that Taiwan is legally bound to join the mainland forcefully if necessary.

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Beijing believes that contact with foreign officials encourages Taiwanese who desire formal independence.

The PLA stated in a statement that “This is a serious warning about the collusion between the ‘Taiwan Independence’ separatist forces, and external forces.”

The “Joint Sword”, or “necessary” exercise, is a way to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Image: A Chinese fighter plane performs a midair refuelling maneuver. Pic by AP
Image: Chinese ships sail through the Taiwan Strait. Pic: AP

US promises training and weapons

While the US House Foreign Affairs Committee chair, Michael McCaul has promised to assist in training Taiwan’s armed forces as well as speed up weapons delivery during his visit to Taipei.

“We are doing all we can to accelerate these sales and get you the weapons you need to defend,” said Congress.

McCaul stated, “You are the best,” “And we will train your military, not for war but for peace.

“Projecting weakness only encourages aggression and conflict.” Strength projects deterrence and encourages peace.

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What could the economic impact of a China-Taiwan conflict be?

“Complete reunification must be realized”

Although the US does not have official relations with Taiwan’s government, it maintains many informal and commercial ties. Federal law requires Washington to make sure that the 22 million-strong island is able to defend itself against Chinese attacks.

According to the official Xinhua News Agency, Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office stated that “We will not leave room for Taiwan independence’ separatist activities in whatever form” and would take resolute steps to defeat foreign interference.

“Complete reunification in our country must be realized, and it can, with no doubt,” said Mr Zhu.

China announced military drills shortly after French President Emmanuel Macron had left China following a meeting between President Xi Jinping, and other senior leaders. He encouraged Beijing and other senior leaders to bring Russia to the negotiating table over the conflict in Ukraine.


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