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China Military ‘Ready to Fight’ after drills near Taiwan

Amid three days of extensive war drills near Taiwan that simulated closing off the island in retaliation for the Taiwanese president's visit to the United States last week, on Monday, the military declared that it was "prepared to fight." According to previous pronouncements from China's military, self-governing Taiwan, which China claims as its own, was to be warned by the "combat readiness patrols" known as Joint Sword.


According to military experts, the exercises are a form of intimidation and a chance for Chinese forces to practise closing off Taiwan by obstructing air and sea travel, a crucial tactical move the Chinese military might make if it decides to use military force to annex Taiwan.


Following President Tsai Ing-wen's delicate effort to strengthen Taiwan's waning diplomatic ties in Central America and increase its U.S. support—a trip rounded off by a peaceful meeting with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California—the Chinese steps are in response. Tsai also met with a U.S. congressional delegation when she returned to Taiwan over the weekend.


Beijing claims that interactions between foreign diplomats and Taiwan's democratically elected government encourage the island's citizens to seek formal independence, a move China's governing Communist Party claims will spark a conflict. After a civil war that divided the two sides, the island must reunite with the mainland by force if necessary, according to the Communist Party.


After Pelosi visited Taiwan, China launched missile attacks on maritime targets in the area and sent warships and aircraft over the Taiwan Strait's centerline. In a significant escalation, it also fired missiles over the island that landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone.


The live-fire drills impacted flights and cargo in one of the busiest maritime lanes for international trade. This time, Kuo said, marine commerce and shipping have mainly carried on as usual.

This time, the exercises emphasise air power; Taiwan has recorded more than 200 flights by Chinese jets over the last three days. According to the People's Liberation Army, quoted by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, the exercises "simulate the joint sealing off" of Taiwan and "waves of simulated strikes" at strategic points on the island.


The threat China poses to Taiwan must be taken seriously, a U.S. representative who attended the meeting with Tsai last week said on Saturday. The chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on China, Republican Mike Gallagher, told The Associated Press that he intends to lead his committee to strengthen the island government's defences and urge Congress to approve military assistance for Taiwan swiftly.

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