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China’s Punishment Drills: Why Taiwan is Under Fire

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In a significant escalation of tensions, China has launched a series of “punishment” military drills around Taiwan. This aggressive move follows the inauguration of Taiwan’s new president, Lai Ching-te, and is seen as a direct response to his pro-independence stance.

Taiwan, a self-governing island democracy, is viewed by China as a breakaway province that must eventually be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary. The election of Lai Ching-te, known for his pro-independence views, has intensified this long-standing conflict. In his inauguration speech, Lai emphasized Taiwan’s sovereignty, stating, “The Republic of China, Taiwan, is a sovereign and independent nation with sovereignty resting in the people.” He also called for an end to Chinese threats and aggression, urging Beijing to strive for peace and stability in the region.

The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) announced joint military drills involving the army, navy, air force, and rocket force. These exercises are taking place in the Taiwan Strait and surrounding areas, including the Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin islands, which are controlled by Taiwan but lie close to the Chinese coast.

The drills, labeled Joint Sword-2024A, started at 7:45 a.m. and aim to demonstrate China’s military readiness. They focus on joint sea-air combat-readiness patrols, precision strikes on key targets, and integrated operations inside and outside the island chain. Chinese state media published a map showing five drill zones around Taiwan and its outlying islands.

Chinese military spokesperson Colonel Li Xi described the drills as a “strong punishment for the separatist acts of ‘Taiwan independence’ forces” and a “stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces,” a clear reference to the United States.

China’s response to Lai Ching-te’s presidency is clear: any move towards Taiwanese independence will be met with strong military and political actions. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi condemned Lai’s actions, saying, “The ugly acts of Lai Ching-te and others who betray the nation and their ancestors are disgraceful.” He warned that all pro-independence forces would be “nailed to the pillar of shame in history.”

China has not ruled out the use of force to achieve its goal of reunification. The drills are intended not only as punishment but also as a demonstration of China’s resolve to prevent any formal independence moves by Taiwan.

In response to the drills, Taiwan’s defense ministry has placed its military on high alert, condemning the exercises as irrational provocations that threaten regional peace and stability. Taiwan remains confident in its ability to defend its territory, with President Lai reiterating that only the Taiwanese people have the right to decide their future.

“The launch of military exercises on this occasion not only does not contribute to the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait, it also highlights (China’s) militaristic mentality,” Taiwan’s defense ministry stated.

China’s military actions are a message to the world about its claims over Taiwan and its readiness to enforce them. The United States, a key ally of Taiwan, closely monitors these developments, which have broader implications for global stability and power dynamics.

ACZ Editor: Think about it. Taiwan democratically elected its president who stated that Taiwan would maintain its freedom and independence from China. Now China is punishing Taiwan for doing exactly that. Why on God’s Green Earth would Taiwan ever want to be part of such a monstrous country?

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