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China's Expansive Military Drills Near Taiwan Signal 'Punishment' for Separatist Actions

Friday, May 24, 2024 • Tamil Comments
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About a week after Lai Ching-te took office as the new president of Taiwan, China carried out its biggest military exercises in a year surrounding the island. The drills were described by the official Xinhua News Agency as a "strong punishment" for "Taiwan independence" movements and a severe warning against foreign meddling and provocation, probably a reference to the United States, Taiwan's main military ally.

President Joe Biden has declared that should Taiwan—home to 23 million people—be invaded, the United States will defend it. China, however, is still determined to subjugate Taiwan, if needed, by force. These drills put more strain on Lai, who in his inauguration speech stressed that neither side of the strait was subservient to the other and encouraged China to give up its war threats.

China had previously conveyed its displeasure with Lai's inauguration, saying that his speech "sent a dangerous signal of seeking independence." It also sanctioned a former U.S. congressman who backed Taipei, denounced U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, praised Lai, and placed symbolic restrictions on American defense contractors.

The circumstances for Taiwan's new government are made more difficult by these military exercises. Massive protests were sparked on Tuesday night by opposition lawmakers' efforts to restrict the authority of the administration. As the legislature works through the adjustments, Friday is predicted to see further protests.

Xinhua reports that the two-day drills are taking place in the Taiwan Strait and surrounding the offshore islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin. This is the largest drill around Taiwan since April of last year, however the precise number of ships and aircraft involved was not published. The situation is being evaluated by the Taipei Defense Ministry right now.

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