China Ends War Games; Taiwan Reports Surge in Military Activity, What's the end
China Ends War Games; Taiwan Reports Surge in Military Activity, What's the end

China concluded two days of military exercises around Taiwan, simulating attacks with bombers and practicing boarding ships. Taiwan condemned these drills as "blatant provocation" and reported a significant increase in Chinese warplanes and warships.

Chinese state television's military channel announced the end of the exercises late on Friday. The People's Liberation Army Daily confirmed that the drills, named "Joint Sword - 2024A," took place over two days from Thursday to Friday.

China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory, initiated the exercises shortly after Lai Ching-te became Taiwan's president. Beijing labeled Lai a "separatist" and claimed the drills were a response to his inaugural speech, in which he asserted that Taiwan and China are "not subordinate to each other," a statement China interpreted as a declaration of Taiwan's independence.

Lai has offered to negotiate with China multiple times, but his offers have been rejected. He insists that only the people of Taiwan can decide their future and dismisses Beijing's sovereignty claims. Taiwan's government criticized the drills, asserting they will not be intimidated by Chinese pressure.

Taiwan's defense ministry reported detecting 62 Chinese military aircraft and 27 navy ships on Friday, with 46 planes crossing the Taiwan Strait's median line, which has served as an unofficial boundary. The Chinese aircraft, including advanced Su-30 fighters and nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, operated in the strait and the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines.

Footage from Taiwanese air force planes showed a Chinese J-16 fighter and an H-6 bomber, though the exact locations were not disclosed. Taiwan's presidential office stated on Saturday that China's military actions disrupted the peaceful status quo in the Taiwan Strait and were provocative to the international order, drawing serious concern and condemnation from the global community.

The Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese military, which conducted the drills, released a video on social media titled "A six-word rhyme on smashing independence." The video, set to martial music, displayed phrases like "advance, surround, lock-down, attack, destroy, and cut-off" alongside footage of military operations and animated missile attacks on Taiwan.

In recent years, China has regularly conducted military activities around Taiwan, including large-scale war games in 2022 and 2023. Despite this, senior Taiwanese lawmaker Wang Ting-yu from Lai's Democratic Progressive Party suggested that the latest drills were more restrained, seemingly intended as a response to Lai's speech rather than an escalation.

The People's Liberation Army Daily commentary described Lai as a "pawn" for foreign forces aiming to hinder China's development. It warned that if Taiwan's independence forces continued their efforts, the PLA would take decisive action to thwart any separatist plots.

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