China ends its military maneuvers around Taiwan

China ends its military maneuvers around Taiwan
China ends its military maneuvers around Taiwan

(Beijing) China has announced the end of its large-scale military maneuvers around the island of Taiwan, which it has been carrying out since Thursday to demonstrate its opposition to what it considers separatist remarks by the new Taiwanese president Lai Ching-te.


Published at 8:05 a.m.

Ludovic EHRET and Glenda KWEK, with Amber WANG in Taipei

France Media Agency

This “Joint Sword-2024A” exercise, which lasted two days until Friday, aimed to send a signal of disapproval to the authorities of the island territory, claimed by Beijing.

The army released a video showing “best moments” of the maneuvers, with missile trucks ready to fire, fighter jets taking off or officers on warships observing their Taiwanese counterparts through binoculars.

Intended in particular to simulate a blockade of Taiwan, these exercises allowed Chinese boats to approach the island “like never before”, according to the state agency Xinhua, which cites official military experts.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense indicated that it had detected 111 Chinese planes “around Taiwan” between Thursday and Saturday morning – much more than usual.

For her part, the spokesperson for the Taiwanese presidency, Karen Kuo, denounced on Saturday these maneuvers which, according to her, constitute a “blatant provocation with regard to the international order”.

China considers Taiwan to be one of its provinces, which it has not yet managed to reunify with its territory since the end of the Chinese civil war and the coming to power of the communists on the continent in 1949.

Beijing calls for a “peaceful” reunification with the territory of 23 million inhabitants, governed by a democratic system, but does not rule out using force if the island moves towards independence.

” Troublemaker ”

China was thus offended by Lai Ching-te’s inauguration speech delivered on Monday.

The Taiwanese president indicated in particular that “the Republic of China [Taïwan, NDLR] and the People’s Republic of China [la Chine continentale dirigée par le Parti communiste, NDLR] are not subordinate to each other.

Comments deemed separatist by Beijing.

“The leader of the Taiwan region seriously questioned the principle of one China […]which pushes our compatriots in Taiwan into a perilous situation of war and danger,” Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Defense, said on Friday.

“It’s called playing with fire and those who play with fire will definitely get burned. »

China regularly accuses the current Taiwanese authorities of wanting to deepen the cultural separation between the island and the continent, despite the fact that the vast majority of Taiwanese are of Chinese culture.

“Beijing’s objective is to shape the international narrative” by presenting the “new Taiwanese government as, quote, a troublemaker,” political analyst Wen-ti Sung, based in Taiwan, told AFP.

With these “highly publicized” military maneuvers, China not only wants to “show its discontent” with Taipei but also “dissuade” other countries from cooperating with the island in order to “isolate it even further”, believes -he.

Beijing is obviously targeting Washington. Because if the United States does not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, they remain its main supplier of arms to the Chinese army.

What consequences?

China regularly castigates the United States, which it accuses of tacitly supporting the independence movement.

The Chinese army “will resolutely crush secessionist conspiracies,” Li Xi, spokesperson for the Eastern theater of operations, declared Friday evening.

A video released by the military and filmed from inside a Chinese plane shows the Chinese national flag with Taiwan’s main mountain range in the background.

“A most pleasing spectacle for the 1.4 billion Chinese,” a spokesperson for Chinese diplomacy, Hua Chunying, said on Saturday on the social network A sign that the maneuvers were also intended to excite the patriotic fiber of the population.

“The scale of the exercises was significant, but far from being as important, it seems, as those of August” 2023, underlines Wen-ti Sung, in reference to those launched by Beijing after a visit to the United States. United of Lai Ching-te, then vice-president.

Beijing also carried out maneuvers of historic scale in August 2022 after the stay on the island of Nancy Pelosi, then president of the American House of Representatives.

What to expect now?

The “A” suffix of the Joint Sword-2024A exercise seems to indicate that there could be others, notes Wen-ti Sung. “If, quote, the different actors do not behave well, Beijing could launch edition B, or even C and so on. »

It is in this context that Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun is due to meet his American counterpart Lloyd Austin next week in Singapore, the Pentagon said on Friday.

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