China surrounds Taiwan by sea and sky

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army began military exercises around Taiwan on Saturday, in response to the meeting last Wednesday in California between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy.

The spokesman for the Chinese Eastern Theater of Operations, Shi Yi, defined the maneuvers as “a serious warning” against “the provocation of the separatist forces” and a “necessary action to protect the national sovereignty and territorial integrity” of China.

Heavy artillery

The maneuvers focused on “testing the forces’ ability to achieve control of the sea, air and information” under the “support of the unified command system” to “create a repressive situation in which the island be surrounded in all four directions.” Among the weapons mobilized are PHL-191 missile launch systems, a 052C destroyer ship, Type 22 ships equipped with J-10C missiles and fighters, and DF-11 conventional ballistic missiles.

Maritime security authorities in the southeastern province of Fujian off Taiwan have warned that live-fire exercises will take place in the waters near the coast on the 8th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 17th and 20th of this month. Chinese military expert Song Zhongping assured that the Shandong, China’s second largest aircraft carrier, will participate in the exercises that will last until Monday.

an irrational act

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry condemned the Chinese military maneuvers, describing it as “an irrational act that endangers regional security and stability.” The island’s military portfolio indicated that it ordered its aircraft, its ships and its missile systems to “respond to the activities” and “monitor the situation.”

The same Ministry reported the incursion of 42 Chinese military aircraft into the Taiwan Air Identification Zone, of which 29 crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, which has functioned for decades as an unofficial but respected border between China and Taiwan.

Beijing Taiwan has been considered a rogue province since Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the civil war to the communist army. In recent weeks, there has been friction between Taipei and Beijing as a result of the rupture of relations between Honduras and Taiwan to establish them with China, which reduced the number of diplomatic allies of the island to 13. Taiwan accused China of exercising “dollar diplomacy” and called Tegucigalpa’s decision “regrettable.”

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The island is one of the biggest sources of conflict between China and the US because Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and would be its biggest military ally in the event of a war with China.

The US on Saturday asked China for “restraint” over the military maneuvers around Taiwan and warned that it has the “capabilities” to guarantee the security of the island. A State Department spokesman said they are “monitoring” the Chinese maneuvers. “Channels of communication with the PRC remain open and we have asked them for restraint and for there to be no change to the ‘status quo,'” the spokesman said.

Biden wants to “guarantee peace”

The Joe Biden government is confident that it has “sufficient resources and capabilities to guarantee peace and stability in the region.” The spokesman for US diplomacy insisted that the Taiwanese president’s visit to the US was a “stopover” during her Central American tour and that there is no reason for her to Beijing “overreact”

The situation is reminiscent of what happened in August 2022, when the visit to Taiwan of the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, angered Beijingwho responded with military maneuvers around the island to a trip he described as “farce” and “deplorable treason.”

The United States has subscribed to the “one China” policy since 1979, but maintains close unofficial relations with Taiwan, despite not recognizing its independence.

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