China Commences Large-Scale Military Drills Surrounding Taiwan Amid Rising Tensions

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On Thursday morning, China initiated two days of extensive military exercises involving naval vessels and aircraft encircling the island of Taiwan, as reported by state media. The drills, code-named Joint Sword-2024A, were launched by the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

According to the Xinhua news agency, the military maneuvers began at 7:45 a.m. (2345 GMT) and are being conducted in the Taiwan Strait, as well as to the north, south, and east of the island. These exercises come just three days after Lai Ching-te was inaugurated as the new president of the self-governed island.

China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, has labeled Lai Ching-te a “dangerous separatist,” warning that his presidency could lead to “war and decline” for Taiwan. The PLA’s drills are seen as a direct response to his swearing-in ceremony.

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Military spokesman Li Xi stated that the exercises will focus on enhancing combat-readiness through joint sea-air patrols, the coordinated seizure of battlefield control, and precision strikes on key targets. Li emphasized that these drills involve close patrols by vessels and aircraft around Taiwan and integrated operations inside and outside the island chain, designed to test the joint combat capabilities of the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command forces.

Furthermore, Li noted that the drills serve as a “strong punishment for the separatist acts of ‘Taiwan independence’ forces and a stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces,” underscoring the Chinese government’s firm stance on the issue.

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The military exercises underscore the heightened tensions between China and Taiwan, as well as the broader geopolitical stakes involving external actors. As the situation develops, the international community remains vigilant, monitoring the potential impacts of these drills on regional stability and global relations.

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