China again holds combat drills around Taiwan, Taipei slams Beijing?

The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command announced late Sunday that China had conducted another round in military combat drills in Taiwan. According to the body, its forces conducted “joint battle readiness patrols and actual combat exercises” in the airspace and sea around Taiwan. These drills were focused on land strikes as well as sea assaults.

China views democratically-governed Taiwan as its own territory. China has intensified its military, political, and economic pressure to support its claims.

It stated that the drills were intended to assess joint combat abilities and “resolutely oppose the provocative actions by external forces and Taiwan independence separate forces”.

Taiwan criticised China for staging its second military combat drills on the island in less that a month. According to the defense ministry, it detected 57 Chinese aircrafts and four naval ships operating around the island in the past 24 hours. This includes 28 aircraft that flew into Taiwan’s air defence zone.

Some of them crossed over the Taiwan Strait median line, which is an unofficial buffer between both sides. The incursion was made by J-16 and Su-30 fighters, with two H-6 bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons to the south.

The Taiwanese presidential office condemned the drills and said that China made “groundless allegations”. The president of Taiwan stated that Taiwan and China are jointly responsible for the stability and peace in the Taiwan Strait.

The office stated in a statement that Taiwan is clear in its position. It will not escalate conflicts or provoke disputes but will defend its sovereignty.

“The military of the nation has an in-depth understanding of the situation in Taiwan Strait and its surrounding areas and responds calmly. It added that “Our people can rest assured.”

Taiwan reported last month that 43 Chinese aircraft crossed the median line in a similar exercise.

Over the past three-years, China has repeatedly invaded the airspace and waters near Taiwan. It held war games in August last year, after Nancy Pelosi, the then speaker of the US House of Representatives made a visit.

Taiwan strongly rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims and says only the 23 million islanders can decide their fate.


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