How China’s Largest Military Drills in a Year Challenge Taiwan's New President Lai Ching-te
How China’s Largest Military Drills in a Year Challenge Taiwan's New President Lai Ching-te

China has launched its most extensive military drills around Taiwan in a year, shortly after Lai Ching-te assumed the presidency of the island. These exercises, conducted on Thursday, were described by the official Xinhua News Agency as a severe response to "Taiwan independence" activities and a warning to foreign interference, likely alluding to the US.

The US, Taiwan's primary military ally, has pledged to defend Taiwan's democracy, home to 23 million people, if attacked. President Joe Biden has reaffirmed this stance, while China remains determined to bring Taiwan under its control, using force if necessary.

These drills increase pressure on President Lai, who took office on Monday in a region that produces the majority of the world's most advanced microchips. In his inaugural speech, Lai urged China to abandon its war threats, emphasizing that neither side of the Taiwan Strait is superior to the other.

China expressed its disapproval of Lai's presidency, calling his speech a "dangerous signal of seeking independence." Additionally, China criticized US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for congratulating Lai, imposed sanctions on a former US congressman supportive of Taipei, and targeted US defense companies with symbolic sanctions.

The military drills pose additional challenges for the new Taipei administration. Opposition lawmakers are pushing for legal reforms to limit the government's powers, prompting thousands to protest on Tuesday night. More demonstrations are expected on Friday as the legislature progresses with these changes.

Xinhua reported that the drills are being conducted in the Taiwan Strait, to the north, south, and east of Taiwan, and around the offshore islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin. The exercises are set to last two days. Although the exact number of ships and planes involved was not disclosed, this is the most extensive military activity around Taiwan since April of the previous year. The Defense Ministry in Taipei is monitoring the situation.

Tags: China, Taiwan, military drills, Lai Ching-te, US-Taiwan relations, Joe Biden, Taiwan independence, Xinhua, Antony Blinken, Taipei government, Taiwan Strait, international relations, defense, geopolitics.

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