Chinese army trained for Taiwan invasion maneuvers in 2023, US general says

Chinese army trained for Taiwan invasion maneuvers in 2023, US general says
Chinese army trained for Taiwan invasion maneuvers in 2023, US general says

Chinese military exercises in the Taiwan Strait in 2023 have practiced maneuvers essential for an invasion of the island, although an actual attack is neither imminent nor inevitable, a senior US general said on Thursday. region.

During the exercises, the People’s Liberation Army simulated a sea and air blockade of Taiwan, amphibious assaults and counter-intervention operations, said U.S. Indo-Pacific Command deputy commander Lt. General Stephen Sklenka, during a speech in Canberra.

Sklenka’s comments come as the Taiwanese military mobilized its forces on Thursday, after China began two days of “punishment” exercises around Taiwan, in what it said was a response to “separatist acts.” .

China’s latest military exercises took place just three days after Lai Ching-te took office as Taiwan’s new president, a man Beijing hates because it considers a “separatist.” China considers Taiwan, democratically governed, to be its own territory. The Taiwanese government says that only the Taiwanese people can decide their future.

China’s military exercises are part of a sustained pressure campaign against Taiwan that dates back to 2022, Sklenka said, adding that incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, once rare, have now become normal.

However, while President Xi Jinping’s order for the Chinese military to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan by 2027 should be taken seriously, an actual attack is neither inevitable nor imminent, he said. he added.

“I cannot emphasize enough how devastating conflict in the Indo-Pacific region would be,” Mr Sklenka said in the speech to the National Press Club of Australia.

“At stake would be countless lives, trillions of dollars in global economic damage, and the maintenance of an international order that has brought relative peace and stability over the past 80 years….. C “That’s why we must work together to prevent conflict.”

China intensified military pressure on Taiwan in April and May, in the run-up to the inauguration of its new president. Fighter jets simulated attacks on foreign ships, as ships and planes approached the island.

Weeks earlier, China clashed with the Philippines in the disputed area of ​​the South China Sea, sparking a diplomatic row and commitments from Japan and the United States to strengthen security ties with the Philippines .

Mr Sklenka said China regularly used its ships to harass and coerce its neighbors in pursuing “excessive, illegal and revisionist” maritime claims and called it an “egalitarian tyrant” towards its neighbors surrounding the sea.

Less than a month after Australia criticized China for a dangerous aerial confrontation over the Yellow Sea, Mr Sklenka said the US military had recorded around 300 such interceptions since 2021.

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