Beijing Launches Aggressive Drills Around Taiwan
Chinese warship sails toward islands it did not approach for 74 years
- The Indo-Pacific Defence
Communist China is holding three days of military exercises around Taiwan starting from Saturday, the People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command announced, in anger at President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
On Saturday, 42 Chinese fighters – J-10s, J-11s and J-16s, crossed the median line that normally serves as an unofficial batter between the two sides, as well as eight Chinese ships near to the island, said Taiwan’s Defence Ministry.
The amphibious landing ship – capable of carrying troops and vehicles – fired multiple artillery rounds in the Luoyan Bay area on the coast of Fujian province, about 50 km (about 30 miles) northwest of the Matsu islands near the mainland that are controlled by Taiwan. The warship did not sail towards the windswept Matsu islands, controlled by Taiwan since the Republic of China government fled to Taipei in 1949 after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s Communist forces.
Chinese military said it had started “Joint Sword” exercises, having said earlier it would be holding them in the Taiwan Strait and to the north, south and east of Taiwan “as planned” but added it was their "serious" warning.
“It is a serious warning to the Taiwan independence separatist forces ,” the Chinese army’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement that called this aggressive act "a necessary for national sovereignty defence".
European Commission President: "Force Unacceptable"
Resorting to force to change the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait would be “unacceptable,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told Chinese President Xi Jinping at a meeting in Beijing on Thursday.
“We all agree that stability in the Taiwan Strait is of paramount importance. We have a very clear interest in preserving this stability,” Von der Leyen said.
“The threat of, or the use of, force to change the status quo is unacceptable, and it is important that the tensions that might occur should be resolved through dialogue,” she said.
There was no broader sense of alarm in Taiwan about the drills, where citizens are long accustomed to Chinese threats.