Tourists look on as a Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 4, 2022InternationalIndiaAfricaOleg BurunovThe Chinese military announced that it would hold three-day air and naval military exercises in the Taiwan Strait and around the island on Saturday morning. The drills kicked off shortly after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen returned from a visit to the US.China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted simulated precision strikes during the second day of its military drills around Taiwan on Sunday, Chinese state media has reported.”Under the unified command of the theatre joint operations command center, multiple types of units carried out simulated joint precision strikes on key targets on Taiwan island and the surrounding sea areas, and continue to maintain an offensive posture around the island,” the media said.A UK news outlet, in turn, cited an unnamed source as saying that China had been conducting simulated air and sea attacks on “foreign military targets” in the waters off Taiwan’s southwestern coast.”Taiwan is not their only target,” the source claimed, calling the PLA’s actions “very provocative.”The remarks came after the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said in a statement that it had detected at least 58 PLA aircraft and nine ships approaching Taiwan on Saturday. The ministry said they were paying particular attention to the PLA’s Rocket Force which is in charge of China’s land-based missile system.”Regarding the movements of the Chinese communists’ Rocket Force, the nation’s military also has a close grasp through the joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system, and air defence forces remain on high alert,” the statement pointed out.The ministry reiterated that Taiwan’s forces will “not escalate conflicts nor cause disputes” and would respond “appropriately” to China’s drills.This followed China announcing that its armed forces would be conducting military exercises from April 8-10 in the maritime area and airspace around Taiwan. According to Beijing, the drill is a warning to supporters of Taiwan’s independence, as well as a measure to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.AsiaChina Launches Patrols Near Taiwan Ahead of Meeting Between McCarthy, Tsai5 April, 05:17 GMTThe war games come days after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other lawmakers in Los Angeles during a visit to the US on her way back from Guatemala and Belize.This is the second time in less than a year that a US House speaker met with Tsai, causing increasing tensions between the US and the Taiwanese government on one hand, and China on the other. In August 2022, Tsai met with McCarthy’s predecessor Nancy Pelosi when she traveled to Taipei. Beijing condemned that meeting and held similar military drills around the island.
The China-Taiwan tensions are also exacerbated by the US repeatedly sending warships and surveillance planes to the Taiwan Strait, with Beijing slamming such missions as provocations and portraying Washington as "a security risk creator in the region."
Although the US does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Washington has a representative office in Taipei and remains the island’s biggest supplier of military hardware. Beijing considers the island an integral part of the PRC, sticking to a policy of peaceful reunification under a “One-China – Two Systems” model.Officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), Taiwan severed all ties with mainland China in 1949 following the Chinese Civil War, in which Mao Zedong’s communist forces of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) defeated the Kuomintang nationalists and forced them to flee to the island.With both the ROC and the PRC claiming the country’s territory, the UN recognized the PRC as the one and only legal China in 1971.