Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Chinese navy drills rattle Taiwan

The tensions between Beijing and Taiwan escalated after the then president-elect Donald Trump spoke to Tsai Ing-wen over the phone in December 2016. Trump became the first American president or president-elect to speak directly to the regime in 37 years Chinese navy drills rattle Taiwan
Patty Aguilar | 22 April, 2018, 09:17

On Wednesday, the navy carried out live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait in what state media said was a direct response to "provocations" by Taiwan.

China sees democratically-governed Taiwan as a renegade part of its territory to be brought back into the fold and has not ruled out reunification by force.

Citing Yu Keli, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Taiwan Studies, the Beijing-based Global Times admitted that the scale, duration and location of the drill had been given much thought beforehand in a bid to "deter but not to provoke", and the drill was held in waters "close to the mainland shore".

The exercise ended at around 11 p.m. with the landing of the last helicopter, Xinhua said.

It was unclear if the exercises referred to earlier drills announced by China that were to take place in the Taiwan Strait.

Just last month, US Senators demanded that Trump offer to sell F-35 stealth fighter jets to Taiwan, according to Defense One. The Ministry of Defence also carried pictures of the exercises on its website on Saturday.

Taiwan's Defense Ministry spokesman, Chen Chung-chi, sought to downplay the drill, saying China was exaggerating the scale of the activity to create anxiety among Taiwanese.

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"A powerful nation must have comparable forces capable of safeguarding its sovereignty and security", says the video's narrator in Hokkien, a language that remains closely tied to Taiwan's pro-independence movement.

'It is the Chinese Communist Party that has played this up with cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling through the state media, hoping to create panic and unease, ' Chen said.

After Chinese President Xi Jinping recently presided over the largest military exercise by the country since 1949 - a massive parade of warships in the disputed South China Sea - state-owned Beijing media outlet Xinhua warned Taiwan and its longstanding military ally the USA that independence moves by the island nation will not be tolerated.

Beijing's sole aircraft carrier and two destroyers carried out "offensive and defensive drills to test their combat muscle" on 20 April, China's navy said on its official microblog site on Weibo.

Tokyo and Beijing are embroiled in a dispute over the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands, known in China as the Diaoyu, in the East China Sea.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and says the sides, which separated during the Chinese civil war in 1949, must eventually be united, by force if necessary.

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