Chinese military ends drills around Taiwan

| | beijing
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Chinese military ends drills around Taiwan

Sunday, 26 May 2024 | PTI | beijing

The Chinese military has ended its two-day joint drills surrounding Taiwan, stated to be the biggest and closest exercises held around the prosperous self-ruled island that China claims to be part of its mainland.

The drills on Thursday and Friday were held in retaliation to Taiwan’s new President Lai Ching-te’s remarks rejecting Beijing’s sovereignty claims over the island and tested the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) ability to seize power. China views Taiwan as a rebel province that must be reunified with the mainland even by force.

While there was no official announcement that the drills ended, the Chinese social media WeChat account of the PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command on Saturday said the exercises lasted two days from Thursday.

It said the exercises by land, navy, air force and missile forces were “punishment” for “Taiwan separatists” and a “severe warning” to outside forces intent on interference and provocation.

The drills, called Joint Sword-2024A, involved “advancing”, “besieging”, “blockading”, “attacking”, “destroying” and “cutting off”, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted the WeChat post.

Observers said the drills were the biggest and closest exercises ever held near Taiwan.

Lieutenant Colonel Zhang Chi, an associate professor at the National Defence University of the PLA, told state broadcaster CCTV that such drills could become a new norm for the mainland, the Post reported.

State news agency Xinhua quoted Meng Xiangqing, from the same university, as saying the vessels involved in the exercises were “unprecedentedly close to the coast of Taiwan”.

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