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China ends three-day drills to blockade, precision-strike Taiwan

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(TibetanReview.net, Apr10’23) – China has ended on Apr 10 three days of military drills around Taiwan, saying they had tested integrated military capabilities under actual combat conditions, having practised precision strikes and blockading the island. Beijing lays sovereign claim over self-ruled Taiwan despite the fact that the latter has never been a part of its founding of the so-called People’s Republic of China.

China launched the drills on Apr 8, after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen returned to Taipei following a meeting in Los Angeles with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The Chinese military said it had “successfully completed” the exercises and “comprehensively tested” the capabilities of multiple units under actual combat conditions, reported Reuters Apr 10.

“The troops in the theatre are ready to fight all the time and can fight at any time, resolutely crushing any form of Taiwan independence separatism and foreign interference,” the Eastern Theatre Command of the People’s Liberation Army has said in a statement.

The report cited Chinese state television as saying earlier on Apr 10 that aircraft, including nuclear-capable H-6 bombers armed with live missiles, and warships had staged drills to “form a multi-directional island-encompassing blockade situation”.

The Eastern Theatre Command has said China’s Shandong aircraft carrier had also taken part in combat patrols, showing fighters taking off from its deck.

Taiwan’s defence ministry has said that as of mid-morning on Apr 10 it had spotted 59 military aircraft and 11 ships around the island, and that the Shandong carrier group was conducting drills in the Western Pacific.

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Neighbour Japan has said it has been following China’s military drills around Taiwan “with great interest”. The southern Japanese island of Okinawa hosts a major US air force base, and last August when China staged war games to protest the visit of then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei, Chinese missiles landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

The European Union has expressed concern on Apr 10, saying Taiwan’s status should not be changed by force as any escalation, accident or use of force there, would have huge global implications.

And the United States has said it was watching China’s drills closely.

Taiwan’s military repeatedly said it will respond calmly to China’s drills and not provoke conflict.

Its defence ministry separately released pictures on Apr 10 of mobile launchers for the Taiwan-made Hsiung Feng anti-ship missiles at an undisclosed location, as well as missile-armed fast attack boats at sea.

Life in Taiwan has continued normally with no signs of panic or disruption, and civilian flights operating as usual, the report said.

“Most normal people probably aren’t afraid, with the main reason being that everyone thinks that China will certainly not start a war,” retiree and former soldier Tang Pao-hsiung, 78, has said.

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