China announces three-day military drills in Taiwan Strait starting today

China announces three-day military drills in Taiwan Strait starting today

China announces three-day military drills in Taiwan Strait starting today

Beijing: China on Saturday announced three days of military drills called “United Sharp Sword” starting today in the Taiwan Strait for “combat preparedness”.

China’s action comes after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met in California.

“United Sharp Sword would involve police patrol drills in the Taiwan Strait, to the north and south of Taiwan, and in the sea and airspace to the east of Taiwan,” Eastern Theatre spokesperson Senior Colonel Shi Yi said in a PLA statement.

However, the exact location of the exercises was not specified.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s defence ministry said Saturday it detected three warships and 13 Chinese aircraft around the island.

The Ministry of National Defence said three ships and 13 aircraft had been detected around Taiwan by 6 am local time (2200 GMT) on Saturday and “4 of the detected aircraft had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s southeast ADIZ”.

‘Drills threat to regional stability, security’

The ministry said that the Chinese military drills threatened regional “stability and security”.

China has “used President Tsai’s visit and transits in the United States as an excuse to conduct military exercises, which has seriously undermined peace, stability and security in the region,” the Ministry of National Defence said in a statement.

China views self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary.

Last August, China deployed warships, missiles and fighter jets around Taiwan in its largest show of force in years, following a trip to the island by McCarthy’s predecessor Nancy Pelosi.

There were no initial signs of heightened military activity on Pingtan, a southwestern Chinese island known as the closest point on the mainland to Taiwan.

Tour guides on Saturday morning herded groups of day-trippers along the sun-drenched shore, while other visitors gazed out at the choppy waters of the strait.

Journalists from AFP reported on Friday that they saw a military tugboat and several army helicopters transiting through the seas off Pingtan, but it was unclear if they signalled enhanced activities.

On Friday, Beijing sent warships and aircraft near Taiwan for a second day and said the island remains an “inseparable part” of its territory.

Tsai says will never yield to suppression

Tsai returned to Taiwan on Friday after visiting the island’s dwindling band of official diplomatic allies in Latin America, with two US stopovers that included meetings with McCarthy and other lawmakers.

“We let the international community see that Taiwan is more united when facing pressure and threats,” she told reporters, describing her trip as a success, adding “we will never yield to suppression”.

Hours before meeting with McCarthy in California on Wednesday, China sent its Shandong aircraft carrier through Taiwan’s southeastern waters on its way to the western Pacific.

Beijing said earlier Friday that “Taiwan is an inseparable part of China”, after repeatedly warning against the Tsai-McCarthy meeting.

“China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity will never be divided,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a regular press briefing.

“The future of Taiwan lies in reunification with the motherland.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping has just hosted French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen as the EU attempts to repair relations with Beijing.

With inputs from agencies