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China Surrounds Taiwan: A Show of Force After New President’s Inauguration

Daniel Kim Views  

A C-130 tactical transport aircraft from the Taiwanese Air Force takes off from the Hsinchu Air Force Base in northern Taiwan on the 23rd. Just three days after Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te took office, the Chinese military embarked on large-scale military exercises that effectively encircle Taiwan. Hsinchu (Taiwan)/Reuters-Yonhap News

Since a hardline independence supporter, Lai Ching-te took office as Taiwan’s president, China has escalated its military offensive against Taiwan. On the 23rd, Chinese state-run media Xinhua reported that the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army of China has launched joint military exercises involving the army, navy, air force, and rocket force troops in areas including the Taiwan Strait. This comes just three days after Lai Ching-te took office on the 20th.

The Eastern Theater Command announced the Joint Sword 2024A exercise plan on the chat app WeChat, stating that it will mobilize the army, navy, air force, and rocket force troops in the Taiwan Strait, northern, southern, and eastern Taiwan, and around Jinmen Dao and Matsu Island for two days starting from 7:45 a.m. The Command also revealed the specific equipment to be used in the exercises, including guided missile destroyers, box-type long-range rocket launchers, and Dongfeng ballistic missiles, threatening to “eliminate” independence with maritime killing weapons.

Taiwan’s media outlets reported that the Chinese military posted the exercise plan on WeChat along with an image of the People’s Liberation Army wielding a sword and an image inscribed with the phrase “Sword to Taiwan Independence!”

Naval Senior Captain Li Xi, spokesperson for the Chinese PLA Eastern Theater Command, said, “During this period, we will focus on joint combat readiness patrols, seizing comprehensive battlefield control, and joint reconnaissance targets.” He also distributed a map outlining the exercise’s scope. He stated, “This exercise is a strong retribution against the Taiwanese separatist forces pursuing independence and a stern warning against interference and provocation from external forces.”

The Eastern Theater Command unit is concentrated around the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea. It confronts Japan Maritime Self Defence Force [JMSDF] Escort Flotilla 2 and the world’s top air force, the U.S. Kadena Air Base, making it a critical location for China. The absence of personnel reductions in recent years reflects Chinese President Xi Jinping’s firm stance on the Taiwan Strait.

Lai Ching-te is known to have a stronger inclination towards independence than his predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen. He expressed a strong will for independence in his inaugural speech, stating, “We will not compromise on democracy and freedom” and “Peace in the Taiwan Strait must be a common goal.” The Chinese Foreign Ministry criticized, “The true colors of the Taiwan independence activist have been revealed,” and “Independence is a delusion.”

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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