According to Reuters, around 20 military vessels – half from China and half of Taiwan – are involved with a standoff near Taiwan Strait’s sensitive median.
It’s coming as China reports that its military conducted simulated precision strikes against “key targets on island and surrounding sea areas” during a second-day of drills. Taiwan also reported multiple air force sorties from Beijing.
According to a security source, the mock air and sea attacks were directed at “foreign military targets” off the coast of Taiwan on Sunday.
According to an unnamed source familiar with the situation, Taiwan is not their only target. It’s very provocative.
China claims Taiwan is its sovereign territory and has begun the second day of exercises. Many Chinese military aircraft crossed a median line on Saturday. This serves as an informal barrier between the two sides.
Taiwan’s defense ministry claimed that it had seen 70 Chinese aircraft around the island, including Su-30 fighters, H-6 bombers and 11 ships.
The source claimed that Shandong, China’s aircraft carrier, is currently more than 400 miles from Taiwan’s southeast coast. Taiwan has been watching it since last week.
They added that the 20 or so vessels involved in the standoff didn’t behave provocatively.
According to the defense ministry, its forces would not “increase conflicts or cause disputes” and would respond “appropriately” to China’s drills.
Chinese state television reported on the continuing combat readiness drills and patrols in Taiwan.
It stated: “Under unified command of theatre joint operations command center, multiple types of units executed simulated joint precision strike on key targets on Taiwan Island and the surrounding sea areas. They also continue to maintain an offensive posture about the island.”
Zhao Xiaozhuo, a member of China’s Academy of Military Sciences, told the Chinese-backed Global Times newspaper that this was the first time China had spoken openly about simulated attacks against Taiwan targets.
The report said that key targets include infrastructure like runways, military logistics facilities, and mobile targets. Mr Zhao also stated that they would “annihilate” them all in one go if necessary.
Military exercises following controversial US visit
China started the exercises one day after Taiwan’s President TsaiIng-wen returned from a controversial trip to the US, where she met Republican as well as Democrat congressional leaders.
Beijing regards any interaction between Taiwanese and American officials as a threat to its claim to the island.
Ms. Tsai met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during her trip. He is the highest ranking American figure to have ever met a Taiwanese leader since 1979.
Beijing condemned the president’s visit, with a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry blaming the “egregiously wrong actions taken by the US” and promising to take “strongly and resolute steps to defend our sovereignty & territorial integrity”.
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Beijing regards Ms. Tsai as a separatist, and has repeatedly rejected her calls for negotiations. She claims that Taiwan’s people are the ones who can decide their future.
Dozens of Chinese fighter planes fly across the Taiwan median line.
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What’s America’s position regarding Taiwan?
The US recognizes China and maintains formal ties with China under its “One China” policy. It also maintains informal relations with Taiwan.
Washington is required by law to give the island the necessary means of defense.
On its website, the US State Department states that it opposes unilateral changes to status quo; Taiwan independence is not supported.