China began three days of military exercises around Taiwan on Saturday, including rehearsing “a total siege” of the self-ruled island, after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday April 5 in California. of the United States House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy.
This Saturday, April 8, the Chinese army began three days of intense military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait, in a context of tensions with the island after a meeting in the United States between its president, Tsai Ing-wen, and Kevin McCarthy, president of the House of Representatives, the third highest-ranking American state official.
On Saturday, April 8, the Taiwanese defense already detected eight warships and 42 combat aircraft around the island.
The moves “serve as a stark warning against collusion between separatist forces seeking ‘Taiwan independence’ and outside forces,” a military spokesman, Shi Yin, said in a statement.
Today’s exercise focuses on the ability to take control of the sea, airspace and information […] to create a total deterrence and encirclement” of Taiwan, Chinese state television CCTV said.
According to television, destroyers, fast missile ships, fighters and tankers will be deployed during the exercises.
Eight Chinese warships and 42 warplanes were detected by the Taiwanese Defense Ministry around the island on Saturday, on the first day of Beijing’s military drills in the Taiwan Strait.
Twenty-nine planes crossed the median line between China and Taiwan, according to the ministry, which denounced “irrational actions.”
The exact location of these operations has not been disclosed, but on Monday they will involve live-fire firing off the coast of Fujian province, just off Taiwan, the regional maritime authority said in a statement.
The narrowest part of the Taiwan Strait between the Chinese mainland and the island is about 130 km wide.
The announcement comes after a meeting on Wednesday April 5 in California between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Shortly after the controversial meeting, Beijing warned that it would take “firm and effective measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
China views this island of democratic rule as part of its territory, and opposes any contact between the Taiwanese leadership and representatives of other countries.
After two days of deploying aircraft and ships near the island, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army announced “a combat readiness exercise in the Taiwan Strait” from April 8 to 10.
However, in the closest place in mainland China to Taiwan, the island of Pingtan, tourists seemed oblivious to the events, taking portraits facing the sea where merchandise ships still circulated.
“I saw the news, but this is not going to spoil our plans today,” said Wu, in her 30s, as she walked along a seafront with her partner.
Another woman, in her 20s and who did not give her name, said she had not heard of the exercises. “What situation? It’s okay,” she said.
China already carried out military maneuvers around the island in August 2022, in response to the visit to Taipei by Nancy Pelosi, McCarthy’s predecessor as head of the House of Representatives.
The current leader of the lower house of the US legislature also wanted to travel to the island, but finally opted for a meeting with Tsai in California to the anger of Beijing.
The Taiwanese leader made a stopover there after visiting Guatemala and Belize, two of the last official allies of the island, which recently lost Honduras to Beijing.
Right now, only 13 countries recognize Taipei. Among them is not the United States, which, however, is one of its main allies and arms supplier.
Back in Taipei, Tsai said Saturday that Taiwan “will continue to work with the United States and other like-minded countries to jointly uphold the values of freedom and democracy.”
The day before, the spokeswoman for Chinese diplomacy, Mao Ning, had said that “Taiwan is an inseparable part of China.”