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    HomeWorldUnderstanding China's Military Exercises Near Taiwan: Motivations and Recent Escalations Explained

    Understanding China’s Military Exercises Near Taiwan: Motivations and Recent Escalations Explained

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    China has launched a three-day military exercise named “Joint Sword” aimed at intimidating Taiwan after the US visit of Taipei’s President Tsai Ing-wen angered Beijing. The Chinese military has deployed ships, fighter jets and missiles in the sea around Taiwan to send a “serious warning against Taiwan independence separatist forces”. The drills include patrols around the island and the rehearsal of “simulated joint precision strikes against key targets” as well as an “encirclement and deterrence posture” around Taiwan. “Dozens” of fighter jets have been deployed in the operation, alongside anti-submarine aircraft.

    China’s communist government considers Taiwan as part of its territory, despite it having been ruled separately for more than 70 years, and has vowed to retake it one day. Beijing bristles at any official contact between Taipei and foreign governments, including Tsai’s recent visit to the US, where she met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and a delegation of politicians from the Republican and Democratic parties.

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    China this week also announced new sanctions on Taipei’s representative to the United States, as well as two US organisations, in retaliation for Tsai’s trip. It has also blocked the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based conservative think tank, as well as the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, from engaging in transactions and cooperation with Chinese entities for hosting Tsai this week.

    China’s response this weekend echoes its fury over a visit to Taipei last August by then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. At the time, Beijing held live-fire military drills just a dozen miles off Taiwan’s shore in what state media called an effort to “seal off Taiwan” that lasted for around a week, while Chinese customs authorities suspended imports of fruit and fish from the island.

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    This time, Beijing is conducting live-fire drills off the coast of China’s Fujian province, about 50 miles south of Taiwan’s Matsu Islands. The latest drills seem “not of the same scale as we saw during Pelosi’s visit”.

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    Rajesh M
    Rajesh M
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