Artillery vehicle

Taiwan conducts artillery fire drills amid Chinese military war games

Topline

Taiwan’s military conducted artillery drills in its southernmost region on Tuesday in response to China’s unprecedented live-fire drills around the island that were due to end on Sunday but have now been extended.

Highlights

Taiwan’s drills, which are much smaller than China’s, focused on firing artillery howitzers into the sea from its southernmost county, Pingtung.

In a statement, the Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command said its joint exercises would continue around Taiwan’s sea and airspace and focus on “joint blockade and joint support.”

Beijing has yet to mention a new end date for its ongoing drills around the self-governing island after Sunday’s deadline was extended without a new end date.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu denounced China’s actions at a press conference on Tuesday, alleging that the intentions behind the drills are “to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and across the region. ” and turn the whole area into its own “inner water”. ”

Wu warned that China would try to make such exercises a routine to shake up the long-established status quo between itself and Taiwan.

crucial quote

At a press conference at the Pentagon on Monday, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said Washington’s assessment that China would not try to take control of Taiwan militarily over the course of the next two years had not changed. He said: “The crisis, you know, across the strait is basically a crisis fabricated by Beijing… Clearly the PRC [China] tries to coerce Taiwan, they are clearly trying to coerce the international community, and all I will say is that we are not going to bite the bait and it will not work.

Large number

39. That’s the number of Chinese military planes detected around Taiwan by its military forces on Monday, the island’s Ministry of National Defense said. tweeted. Thirteen Chinese navy ships were also spotted.

Key Context

China began its military exercises around Taiwan last week after a US congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island and met with its leaders. As part of the drills, China conducted the test launch of ballistic missiles across the Taiwan Strait, some of which flew over the island. China sees self-governing democracy as its own territory amid a decades-long standoff over diplomatic relations, talks and threats around reunification. There are fears in Washington that China’s exercises could slowly turn into a months-long blockade of the island, which could also break global supply chains for microchips and electronics. Even so, Kahl said the US Navy will be transiting the Taiwan Strait “in the coming weeks” and continuing “freedom of navigation operations elsewhere in the region.”

To monitor

Besides artillery drills, the Taiwanese military plans to conduct its annual drill on September 5. The annual war game will be much larger and will involve attack helicopters, artillery and armored vehicles.

Further reading

Taiwan holds drills, says China seeks control of seas (Associated Press)

Taiwan tries to control the East and South China Seas: Wu (Nikkei Asia)

China raises tensions as it continues military drills around Taiwan past deadline (Forbes)