Wed, 28 Sep 2022

China continues military drills around Taiwan

RFI
08 Aug 2022, 23:47 GMT+10

China is continuing with fresh military drills around Taiwan, defying calls for it to end its largest-ever exercises encircling the island in the wake of a contraversial visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Beijing has been raging at Pelosi's trip - the highest-ranking elected US official to visit Taiwan in decades - ripping up a series of talks and cooperation agreements with Washington, most notably on climate change and defence.

China has also deployed fighter jets, warships and ballistic missiles in what analysts have described as practice for a blockade and ultimate invasion of the self-ruled island that China claims as its territory.

Those drills were expected to draw to a close on Sunday, but neither Beijing nor Taipei confirmed their conclusion, though Taiwan's transport ministry said it had seen some evidence suggesting at least a partial drawdown.

However, Beijing confirmed this Monday that the mobilisation was ongoing, reporting that "the eastern theatre of the Chinese People's Liberation Army [has] continued to carry out practical joint exercises and training in the sea and airspace around Taiwan island."

The Chinese military's Eastern Theatre Command said the drills were "focusing on organising joint anti-submarine and sea assault operations".

Beijing is also set to carry out live-fire drills on Monday in parts of the South China Sea and Yellow Sea.

Taipei remains defiant

Taiwan has remained defiant throughout days of military manoeuvres by Beijing and will reportedly hold anti-landing exercises in its southernmost county of Pingtung this Tuesday and Thursday.

They will also include the deployment of hundreds of troops and about 40 howitzer guns.

Su Tseng-chang, Taiwan's premier, has accused China of "barbarously using military action" to disturb peace in the Taiwan Strait.

He told reporters Sunday, "We call on the Chinese government not to go around wielding its military power, showing its muscles everywhere and jeopardising the peace of the region."

To show how close it has got to Taiwan's shores, the Chinese military released a video of an air force pilot filming the island's coastline and mountains from his cockpit.

The Eastern Command also shared a photo it said was of a warship on patrol with Taiwan's shoreline visible in the background.

According to Chinese state media ballistic missiles were also fired over Taiwan's capital during the exercises last week.

China launches massive military manoeuvres around Taiwan as Pelosi flies out French-led EU delegation meets Taiwan president on first official tripUS calls to avoid 'major crisis'

The scale and intensity of China's drills - as well as Beijing's withdrawal from key talks on climate and defence - have triggered outrage in the United States and other democracies.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said Washington is "determined to act responsibly" to avoid a major global crisis.

Experts say the drills have revealed an increasingly emboldened Chinese military capable of carrying out a blockade of the island as well as obstructing US forces from coming to its aid.

Originally published on RFI

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