China's Military Launches Large-Scale Maneuvers Around Taiwan

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.23 - 2024 8:26 AM CET

China has launched extensive military maneuvers around Taiwan.

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The People's Republic of China launched large-scale military exercises on Thursday, as announced by state news agency Xinhua.

These exercises involve naval ships and aircraft operating in the Taiwan Strait and surrounding regions, including the north, south, and east of the island.

Demonstration of Force

The maneuvers are perceived as a direct response to the recent inauguration of Taiwan's new President Lai Ching-te.

According to reports from Der Spiegel, the Chinese armed forces are focusing on joint combat readiness at sea and in the air, as well as simulating attacks on key targets. Ships and aircraft have approached Taiwan from multiple directions, including patrols near the Kinmen and Matsu Islands.

Taiwan's Defense Ministry has condemned these military exercises as an "irrational provocation" that endangers peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

The Taiwanese military has mobilized its sea, land, and air forces to defend the island's "freedom and democracy with practical actions," though specific operational details were not disclosed.

Historical Context and Rising Tensions

China considers Taiwan a breakaway province that should be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Over recent years, China has consistently increased its military presence near Taiwan, sending fighter jets and warships in frequent shows of strength. This pattern of behavior has heightened regional tensions.

The current military exercises are seen as part of China's strategy to intimidate Taiwan and demonstrate its displeasure with the island's political developments, particularly the inauguration of President Lai, who is viewed as a pro-independence figure.

President Lai's inauguration has sparked political controversy within Taiwan.

Pro-China parties in Taiwan's parliament have introduced contentious legislative proposals, leading to heated debates and physical altercations among lawmakers. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets to support Lai and voice concerns about the preservation of Taiwan's democracy.

Many Taiwanese fear that their island could face increasing pressure and influence from Beijing, similar to the situation in Hong Kong, where Beijing has tightened its control over the region's political and civil freedoms.

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