China Extends War Games Around Taiwan to Test Military Might

China's military continued war games around Taiwan, testing their ability to seize power and control key areas. Launched to challenge Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te, the exercises have stirred tension between the neighbors. Taiwan remains resolute, condemning the drills and advocating for dialogue.

Reuters | Updated: 24-05-2024 06:47 IST | Created: 24-05-2024 06:47 IST
China Extends War Games Around Taiwan to Test Military Might

China's military started its second day of war games around Taiwan on Friday, with drills to test their ability to "seize power" and control key areas, exercises it has said were launched to punish Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te. The two days of drills in the Taiwan Strait and around groups of Taiwan-controlled islands near the Chinese coast started just three days after Lai took office.

China, which views democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and denounces Lai as a "separatist", decried his inauguration speech on Monday, in which he urged Beijing to stop its threats and said the two sides of the strait were "not subordinate to each other". The Eastern Theatre Command of the People's Liberation Army said in a brief statement that its forces on Friday continued with their drills, dubbed "Joint Sword - 2024A".

The exercises are to "test the ability to jointly seize power, launch joint attacks and occupy key areas", it said. China has never ruled out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.

Taiwan's government has condemned the drills, and sent its armed forces to monitor and shadow Chinese forces. Lai has repeatedly offered talks with China but has been rebuffed. He says only Taiwan's people can decide their future, and rejects Beijing's sovereignty claims.

In a Friday commentary, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party, the People's Daily, said it was a shared belief among Chinese people that the territory of the nation cannot be divided, the country cannot be thrown into chaos and its people cannot be separated. The recent actions of the "leader of the Taiwan region" will only accelerate the "destruction" of pro-independence forces in Taiwan, it wrote.

China is willing to create "broad space for peaceful reunification", but will never leave any room Taiwan "separatist activities", the newspaper added. Analysts, regional diplomats and senior Taiwan officials noted that so far the scale of the drills were smaller than the similar exercises in 2022 and were widely anticipated by Taiwanese and foreign officials, but they still raised the risk of accidents or miscalculations.

They said Beijing was sending a finely calibrated warning that Chinese forces could attempt a swift blockade if it wanted to bring Lai to heel.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback