China starts ‘punishment’ drills around Taiwan days after new president takes office

China’s military started two days of “punishment” drills around Taiwan on Thursday in what it said was a response to “separatist acts”, just days after new Taiwan President Lai Ching-te took office and called on Beijing to cease its threats.

New Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te, center, Vice President Hsiao Bi-khim, right, and former President Tsai Ing-wen wave during Lai’s inauguration ceremonies in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday 20 May 2024. Photo: AP / Chiang Ying-ying

China detests Lai, saying he is a “separatist”, and it has denounced his inauguration speech on Monday.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi this week called Lai “disgraceful”.

Lai has repeatedly offered talks with China but been rebuffed. He says only Taiwan’s people can decide their future, and rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims.

The Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said it had started joint military drills, involving the army, navy, air force and rocket force, in areas around Taiwan at 7.45 am (local time).

The drills are being conducted in the Taiwan Strait, the north, south and east of Taiwan, as well as areas around the Taiwan-controlled islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin, the command said in a statement.

There was no immediate comment from Taiwan’s government.

The drills focus on joint sea-air combat-readiness patrols, precision strikes on key targets, and integrated operations inside and outside the island chain to test the “joint real combat capabilities” of the forces, China’s military said.

“This is also a strong punishment for the separatist acts of Taiwan independence forces and a stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces,” the command added.

In August 2022, China launched live-fire military exercises around Taiwan immediately after a visit, much condemned by Beijing, by former US House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

That series of exercises, the scale of which was unprecedented, lasted for four days, followed by several days of additional drills.

– Reuters

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news