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China begins joint military drills surrounding Taiwan

News Agencies | Updated on: 23 May 2024, 9:36 IST
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Beijing [China]: The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) began joint military drills surrounding Taiwan on Thursday at 7:45 am (local time), Xinhua reported.

The Chinese army has been conducting drills in the Taiwan Strait, the north, south and east of Taiwan Island, and areas around the islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin.

Theater Command spokesperson Li Xi said military services, including the army, navy, air force and rocket force of the theater command are being organized to carry out the joint drills, code-named Joint Sword-2024A, from Thursday to Friday.

Li said that the drills focus on joint seizure of comprehensive battlefield control, joint sea-air combat-readiness patrol and joint precision strikes on key targets.

He further said that the exercise included the patrol of vessels and planes closing in on areas around Taiwan and integrated operations in and outside the island chain to test the joint real combat capabilities of the forces of the command.

The spokesperson stressed the drills also serve as a strong punishment for the separatist acts of "Taiwan independence" forces and a stern warning against interference and provocation by external forces, Xinhua reported.

The increased presence of Chinese military assets near Taiwan underscores the ongoing geopolitical tensions in the region. Taiwan has frequently raised concerns about China's military activities and its ambitions to reunify Taiwan with the mainland, by force if necessary, according to a Xinhua report.

The median line of the Taiwan Strait served for decades as a tacit border between China and Taiwan, but China's military has more freely sent aircraft, warships and drones across it since former United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022.


First published: 23 May 2024, 9:36 IST