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China holds offensive drills near southern Taiwan

China conducted strike drills near Taiwan on August 17, deploying fighter jets, anti-submarine aircraft and warships to the southwest and southeast of the island, while its forces The country’s armed forces claimed it was in response to “external interference”.

China on Friday kicked off five-day-long naval drills in the disputed South China Sea. (Image representational/PTI)

This photo taken on December 23, 2016 shows a Chinese J-15 fighter jet being launched from the deck of the aircraft carrier Liaoning during exercises in the Yellow Sea, off China’s east coast. (Picture: Getty Images)

In a statement on August 17, the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) affirmed that the drills “use actual troops” and accused “provocative actions recent US-Taiwan… has seriously violated peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.

Taiwan has voiced criticism of China’s continued military exercises in the vicinity over the past two years. The PLA exercises are also widely seen as part of a pressure campaign to force the island to bow to Chinese rule. The communist government repeatedly claims Taiwan, despite the fact that the island has remained self-governing as a separate entity for decades.

However, it is worth noting that the offensive exercises this time are different from previous PLA exercises. The drills on August 17 were held near the waters southwest and southeast of Taiwan, in both the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea, as well as the Bashi Channel connecting the two seas, according to the PLA statement.

Su Tzu-yun, director of the Department of Defense Strategy and Resources at the Institute of Defense and Security Studies in Taiwan, told The Epoch Times on August 17: “It’s really unusual, and it’s also rare that the PLA conduct an exercise in both seas. Militarily, the PLA wants to show that it can cut off US Navy shipping through the Bashi Channel to the South China Sea [from the Philippine Sea]. [These exercises] are really a threat to Taiwan.”

Previously, the PLA suddenly announced the exercises but did not disclose related details. Taiwan has closely monitored the drills and released related information.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said on its official website, 11 PLA aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on August 17, including six J-16 fighters, two H-6K bomber, a Y-8Q anti-submarine aircraft, a Y-8G long-range jammer, a KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft.

The Ministry of Defense stressed in a statement that it had fully grasped and assessed the situation at sea and in the air “and has prepared for various responses”.

The exercise comes after the US Navy just finished the Large Scale Global Exercise 21) on August 16. The exercise lasted two weeks in waters across 17 different time zones, including the East China Sea, the South China Sea, the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.

The “provocative actions” that the PLA claimed in its statement on Aug. 17 could include a meeting held last week in which officers from the US coast guard and Taiwan discussed stepping up cooperation and communication.

Previously, on August 4, the US State Department also approved the sale of military equipment worth 750 million USD to Taiwan, including 40 self-propelled guns, 20 field artillery support vehicles and other equipment. be different, which infuriated Beijing.\

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