Monday, January 9, 2023

China conducts military exercises near Taiwan once more, the second in a month

China carries out combat drills around Taiwan again, second in a month

 BEIJING: The island's defense ministry reported that it had detected 57 Chinese aircraft during Sunday's combat drills, the second such exercise in less than a month, according to the Chinese military.

China has increased its military, political, and economic pressure to substantiate its claim to Taiwan, which is democratically governed.

Late on Sunday, the Eastern Theatre Command of the People's Liberation Army released a statement announcing that its forces had conducted "joint combat readiness patrols and actual combat drills" in the airspace and sea surrounding Taiwan, focusing on land strikes and sea assaults.

In a brief statement, it added that the exercises were intended to "resolutely counter the provocative actions of external forces and Taiwan independence separatist forces" and test joint combat capabilities.

On Monday, Taiwan's defense ministry said it had detected 57 Chinese aircraft and four naval vessels operating around the island in the previous 24 hours, including 28 aircraft that flew into Taiwan's air defense zone.

According to a map provided by the ministry, two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers flew to the south of Taiwan, while Su-30 and J-16 fighters crossed the Taiwan Strait median line, an unofficial buffer between the two sides.

Late last month, China carried out similar exercises, and Taiwan reported that 43 Chinese aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

Over the past three years, China has been regularly making military incursions into the waters and airspace close to Taiwan. China has never shied away from using force to take control of the island.

Following the then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei in August, China staged war games all over Taiwan.

Beijing's claims to sovereignty are categorically rejected by Taiwan, which asserts that the island's 23 million residents alone are in control of their destiny.

The United States' support for Taiwan, including the sale of weapons, has particularly enraged Beijing.

Although it is the island's most significant arms supplier and international backer, the United States, like the majority of nations, does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

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