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China Conducts Military Drills Around Taiwan and Simulates Strike Operations

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China’s military simulated precision strikes against Taiwan on the second day of exercises around the island on Sunday, with the island’s defense ministry reporting several sorties to the air force and that it was monitoring Chinese missile forces.

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, began three days of military exercises around the island on Saturday, a day after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen returned from a brief visit to the United States.

Chinese state television reported that combat readiness patrols and exercises around Taiwan are continuing.

“Under the unified command of the Joint Operations Command Center in the theater of operations, multiple types of units carried out precise joint simulated strikes on key targets on Taiwan Island and the surrounding sea areas, and continued to maintain an offensive posture around the island,” the statement said.

A source familiar with the security situation in the region told Reuters that China was launching simulated air and sea attacks on “foreign military targets” in the waters off the southwestern coast of Taiwan.

Because “Taiwan is not their only target,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It’s very provocative.”

As of Sunday noon (4 a.m. GMT), Taiwan’s defense ministry said it had spotted 58 Chinese aircraft, including Su-30 fighters and H-6 bombers, as well as nine ships around Taiwan.

The ministry said it pays special attention to the missile force of the People’s Liberation Army, which is responsible for China’s land-based missile system.

“With regard to the movements of the Chinese Communists’ missile force, the national army also has a close grasp through the joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system, and the air defense forces remain on high alert,” the ministry said.

He reiterated that the Taiwanese forces “will not escalate conflicts, nor cause disputes” and will “properly” respond to the Chinese exercises.

The security source said about 20 military ships, half from Taiwan and half from China, were involved in a standoff near the middle line of the Taiwan Strait, which had served as an unofficial barrier between the two sides for years, but had not acted provocatively. .

The source said the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, which has been under surveillance by Taiwan since last week, is now more than 400 nautical miles off the southeastern coast of Taiwan and is conducting exercises.

Zhao Xiaozhu of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences told the state-backed Global Times newspaper that this was the first time China had publicly talked about simulated attacks on targets in Taiwan.

The report quoted Zhao as saying that the main targets would include infrastructure such as runways, military logistical facilities and mobile targets to “eliminate them in one fell swoop if necessary.”

US Observer exercises

Life in Taiwan went on as normal, without any sign of panic or turmoil from the Chinese drills.

Last August, following the visit to Taipei of Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the US House of Representatives, China staged war games around Taiwan, including firing missiles into waters near the island. It did not announce similar exercises this time.

While in Los Angeles last week, on what was officially described as a transit on her way back from Central America, Tsai met the current speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, despite warnings from Beijing against it.

The actual US embassy in Taiwan said on Sunday that the United States is watching China’s exercises around Taiwan closely and is “satisfied and confident” that it has sufficient resources and capabilities at the regional level to ensure peace and stability.

A spokesperson for the American Institute in Taiwan, which serves as an embassy in the absence of formal diplomatic relations, said US channels of communication with China remain open and the US has consistently urged restraint and not to change the status quo.

Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in favor of Beijing in 1979 but is required by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

China, which has not renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control, says Taiwan is the most important and sensitive issue in its relations with the United States, and the topic is a frequent source of tension.

Beijing regards Tsai as a separatist and has rejected her repeated calls for talks. Tsai says that only the people of Taiwan can decide their own future.

Chinese fighters and warships

Over the past three years or so, China has stepped up its military pressure against Taiwan, flying regular missions around Taiwan, but not in its territorial airspace or over the island itself.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said earlier on Sunday that in the past 24 hours it had detected 71 Chinese Air Force aircraft and nine Navy ships around Taiwan.

The ministry published a map showing about half of those aircraft, including Su-30s and J-11s, crossing the center line of the strait.

Chinese state media said the planes were armed with live weapons. Taiwan Air Force planes usually carry live weapons when scrambling to fend off Chinese raids.

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