Live ammunition also used: China’s military practices “closure” of Taiwan

Also used live ammunition

China’s military practices “lockdown” of Taiwan

Beijing feels provoked by a trip by Taiwan’s president to the United States. China’s military is holding large-scale maneuvers off the island to intimidate. It also simulates air raids. The US, for its part, is flexing its military muscles in the disputed South China Sea.

Tensions with China have escalated following Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to the United States. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army continued large-scale military maneuvers near Taiwan for the third straight day. The Eastern Command organized further drills and patrols, as well as air force attacks on land targets, the Chinese military said.

According to its own statements, China practiced the “sealing off” of the island. Several dozen military planes are deployed off Taiwan to enforce an “air blockade” of the island, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV. The Taiwan Defense Ministry said it had sighted 11 Chinese warships and 59 military aircraft off the island. 39 planes crossed the previously respected, unofficial center line of the Taiwan Strait Straits and also entered Taiwan’s air surveillance zone, which serves as a kind of buffer zone to the People’s Republic.

According to Taipei, the aircraft included fighter jets and bombers. According to Chinese information, live ammunition was used during the exercises, as announced in advance. “Several groups of H-6K fighter jets with live ammunition” carried out “several waves of simulated attacks on key targets on the island of Taiwan,” the Chinese People’s Liberation Army East Territorial Command said. The aircraft carrier Shandong was also involved in the exercises.

Warning to “separatist forces”

China’s army described the maneuver on Saturday as a “warning” to “separatist forces”. Since the political split between mainland China and Taiwan in 1949, Beijing has viewed the island as a breakaway territory that it wants to reunite with the mainland – if necessary using military force. China seeks to isolate Taiwan internationally and firmly rejects official contacts from other countries to Taiwan.

Large-scale military maneuvers were held after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in August. Last Wednesday, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen met with the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy – number three in the United States according to the protocol. It was the first meeting of its kind on US soil. The maneuvers near Taiwan, which have been ongoing since Saturday, are a reaction to this visit.

US Warship for Freedom of Navigation

The Taiwan conflict is a key issue between China and the United States. Washington has been committed to the island’s defense capability since 1979, which has so far mostly meant arms deliveries. Observers fear the dispute could potentially spark a military confrontation between the two world powers. The US and China are also at odds over Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The US, meanwhile, demonstrated military prowess in the South China Sea with a US destroyer conducting a sortie near China-claimed Mischief Reef. The “USS Milius” completed a mission near the Mischief Atoll of the Spratly Islands. As the 7th US Fleet announced, the US warship stood up for freedom of navigation in the sea area claimed by China and other countries. The “USS Milius” then left the area again. The reef is in its natural state flooded with water and therefore does not allow any territorial claims under the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the statement said. China’s land reclamation and the built facilities did not change that. “Illegal and sweeping claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas, including freedom of navigation and overflight, free trade and unhindered business.”

China claims almost all of the South China Sea and has built artificial islands to support its claims. This also applies to strategically important and resource-rich areas that countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines claim as their own. The United States and China’s neighbors accuse Beijing of increasing militarization of the region. The International Court of Arbitration in The Hague rejected the Chinese territorial claims in 2016. However, China ignores the verdict.

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