Tensions in Asia: In response to the encirclement of the island by the Chinese army, Taiwan takes off its F-16s

Tensions in Asia: In response to the encirclement of the island by the Chinese army, Taiwan takes off its F-16s
Tensions in Asia: In response to the encirclement of the island by the Chinese army, Taiwan takes off its F-16s

Since Friday morning, China has been carrying out naval and air military operations to encircle Taiwan.

The Chinese army announced this Friday that it would continue its maneuvers around Taiwan, exercises which aim to assess the capacity of its forces to “seize power” on the island. Bombers carried out several simulated attacks in coordination with warships east of Taiwan, Chinese state television CCTV reported.

These military maneuvers, scheduled to last two days, were launched Thursday in the Taiwan Strait and around islands located near the Chinese coast and controlled by Taipei. They come just days after Lai Ching-te was inaugurated as president of Taiwan for a four-year term.

According to CCTV, the Chinese ship Nantong carried out combat readiness patrols and practical exercise missions in the Taiwan Strait, followed by the Taiwanese ship Zheng He 0.6 nautical miles away.

Taiwan’s armed forces have mobilized to monitor and track Chinese forces, and the Defense Ministry on Friday released photos of F-16s, armed with missiles, patrolling the skies.

The US Navy takes the situation “very seriously”

The ministry said it detected 49 Chinese military aircraft, 19 navy boats and seven Chinese coast guard vessels. Of the planes, 28 crossed the strait’s midline, which once served as an unofficial border although China says it does not recognize it.

A spokesperson for the US Navy’s 7th Fleet said it pays attention to “all activities” in the Indo-Pacific and takes its responsibility to deter any aggression in the region.

China, which considers Taiwan to be a renegade province, has never ruled out using force to bring the island back into its fold and takes a dim view of the electoral victory of Lai Ching-te, pro-independence like him. was the former president, Tsai Ing-wen.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said in a brief statement that its forces were continuing their maneuvers Friday.

These exercises aim to “evaluate the capacity to jointly seize power, launch joint attacks and occupy areas of importance”, it was indicated in the press release.

Attack simulation

A senior Taiwan security official told Reuters that several Chinese bombers had carried out simulated attacks on foreign ships near the eastern end of the Bashi Channel, which separates Taiwan from the Philippines.

Several Chinese coast guard boats also conducted “harassment” exercises off the east coast of Taiwan, notably simulating inspections of civilian ships, the official added on condition of anonymity, due to the sensitivity of the matter. .

Taiwan and the United States have no official diplomatic relations, but Washington’s strategy is to provide the island with the means to defend itself, even if it has committed to supporting it in the event of a Chinese attack. Lai Ching-te, who considers that the Taiwanese people are the sole decision-makers of their future, has proposed a dialogue with China in the past, in vain.

In an inauguration speech Monday, Lai Ching-te called on Beijing to stop its threats and said neither territory on either side of the strait was “subordinate to the other.” remarks denounced by China.

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