China concludes military exercises around Taiwan, announces plan to regularize activities

The Chinese military announced on August 10 that various military exercises around Taiwan were “successfully”, according to media reports. Chinese government spokesman world times, reported that various missions were accomplished by the PLA Eastern Theater Command during recent exercises around the island of Taiwan, effectively testing the combat capability of the troops’ joint operations.

He further added that the Chinese military will regularly conduct combat readiness patrols in the Taiwan Strait. In response to the recent visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, China sent military ships and aircraft across the middle line of the Taiwan Strait and launched missiles into the waters surrounding the island. The exercises, which began on August 4, have disrupted flights and shipping in one of the busiest commercial areas in the world.

Ignoring calls for de-escalation of tensions, Beijing extended the drills without specifying when they would end. Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said China wanted to establish dominance in the Western Pacific, rather than annex the island democracy that split from the mainland during the civil war in 1949. He said during a press conference in Taipei that this would involve controlling the East and South China Seas via the Taiwan Strait and imposing a blockade to prevent the United States and its allies from assisting Taiwan in the event of an attack.

Military drills demonstrate Beijing’s geostrategic ambition beyond Taiwan (Wu)

According to Wu, the drills demonstrate Beijing’s geostrategic ambition beyond Taiwan, which it claims as its territory. Although more pessimistic than other observers, Wu’s assessment of China’s actions echoes widespread concerns that Beijing is trying to increase its influence in the Pacific, where the United States has bases. military and extensive treaty alliances. Pelosi’s visit, China said, sparked his drills, but Wu said Beijing was using it as an excuse for long-planned bullying.

After the visit, China also imposed import restrictions on some Taiwanese foods and stopped communicating with the United States on several issues, including military cooperation, combating transnational crime and climate change. China has moved closer to Taiwan’s borders through its actions, and it may be trying to create a new normal where it can eventually control access to the island’s ports and airspace. But the island’s military, whose citizens strongly support the status quo of de facto independence, would likely react strongly to that.

The position of the United States in the face of threats from Beijing

Taipei’s main backer, the United States, has also shown a willingness to deal with Beijing’s threats. In deference to Beijing, Washington does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but it is required by law to ensure the island can defend itself and to treat any threats against it with the utmost seriousness.

A protracted crisis in the Taiwan Strait, a crucial trade route, could have significant effects on global supply chains at a time when the world is already experiencing disruption and uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine. This is in addition to geopolitical risks. Taiwan is a key supplier of computer chips to the global economy, especially to China’s high-tech industries.

Image: AP

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