Chinese Military Concludes Two-Day Exercises Around Taiwan Amid Rising Tensions

Last Updated on May 25, 2024 2:07 pm

China’s military concluded a two-day series of war games around Taiwan on Friday, showcasing a significant increase in military activity that has heightened tensions in the region. The “Joint Sword – 2024A” exercises involved simulated attacks with bombers and ship-boarding drills, taking place just days after Lai Ching-te’s inauguration as Taiwan’s president, a leader Beijing labels a “separatist.”

The drills were a direct response to Lai’s inaugural speech, in which he asserted that Taiwan and China are “not subordinate to each other.” Beijing viewed this statement as a declaration of Taiwan’s independence, prompting what it termed a “punishment” exercise. Chinese state media, including the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily, emphasized that these operations were meant to send a clear message to Taiwan and its supporters.

Taiwan’s defense ministry reported a notable surge in Chinese military activity during the exercises. On Friday alone, 46 Chinese military planes breached the median line of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial boundary that has long served as a buffer zone. In total, 62 Chinese aircraft, including advanced Su-30 fighters and H-6 bombers, along with 27 navy ships, were detected in the vicinity. The ministry released footage showing Chinese J-16 fighters and H-6 bombers, underscoring the scale of the maneuvers.

Despite the aggressive posturing, Taiwan remains resolute. President Lai has repeatedly called for dialogue with Beijing, emphasizing that only the people of Taiwan can determine their future. Taiwan’s government condemned the military drills, stating they would not be intimidated by Chinese pressure.

This latest round of military exercises is part of a broader pattern of Chinese military activity around Taiwan, which has included large-scale war games in the past two years. The PLA Daily, acting as the voice of China’s military, accused Lai of acting as a “pawn” for foreign powers aiming to curb China’s development. The commentary warned that any push for Taiwan’s independence would be met with decisive action from the PLA.

As the geopolitical landscape in the Taiwan Strait remains tense, international observers are closely watching the developments, recognizing the potential implications for regional stability and global security.

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