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China’s military drills indicate plan to occupy Taiwan

While it has an insatiable imperialistic desire of occupying the territories of neighbouring countries, China reserves its most belligerent attitude for the tiny island nation of Taiwan.

According to a recent report, China has made vast and thorough military preparations to completely blockade and encircle Taiwan in the event that it decides to launch a military move on the island.

Since former US Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in August 2022, a variety of drills simulating every facet of a military operation, including new and unique exercises around the island, have been reported. Many facets of China’s approach to cross-Strait relations, its relationships with the US, and regional and international politics were irreversibly changed by the incident.

According to an article in Nikkei Asia, there have been changes in the location, quantity, frequency, and kind of drone, naval, and combat aircraft manoeuvres near the island since the Pelosi administration.

The article comes after a number of earlier investigations in the EurAsian Times concerning China’s military preparations for Taiwan that stated the activities were coordinated to make sure a military option succeeds at all costs if Beijing chose to pursue it.

Numerous firsts were registered during the exercises that followed Pelosi’s visit, including the simultaneous live-fire drills at six different locations on the island, the launching of rockets and ballistic missiles over the island, which toppled over on its eastern coast, and the operational debut of cutting-edge fighters like the J-20.

 

China’s ire directed more at US than at Taiwan

While China continues to officially support the “peaceful reunification” programme, it continues to believe that a sizable group of Taiwanese who support China can balance out Taiwan’s pro-independence parties. However, it now has a negative opinion of the US.

Beijing evaluates a long-term, permanent Washington strategy that maintains strategic conflict by crossing “red lines” like Taiwan. Here, it will engage the pro-independence forces, arm Taiwan with armaments, and dispatch its warships via the Straits and the South China Sea (SCS) to avoid breaking the One China policy. Therefore, it may be claimed that China’s military exercises are motivated by a desire to discourage and signal its willingness to use force to Washington rather than Taipei.

 

China trying to intimidate Taiwan with military drills

A number of military manoeuvres that indicate to China’s preparedness are noted in the Nikkei Asia report. It draws attention to the Shandong, the first aircraft carrier built in China, which was sent for the first time to the Western Pacific on April 5 for approximately one-month long takeoff and landing drills. Prior to that, the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, conducted training exercises in the waters east of Taiwan in December.

In April, a Chinese TB001 military drone flew east of Taiwan and around it before heading back to the Chinese mainland. The route was extremely unique, according to the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defence. On May 3, it was also verified that a BZK005 reconnaissance drone was circling the area off Taiwan’s eastern coast.

Since March, Chinese military aircraft have become much more frequent in the skies east of Taiwan. They were observed three days each month from Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan to the beginning of February. However, the total grew with time, reaching ten days in April, twelve in May, six in June, and twelve in July.

Russian military activity has also come to light east of Taiwan. In May, two frigate ships made an appearance and carried on operations for nearly a month. In recent times, “more than 30 per day” Chinese military aircraft have been flying over Taiwan. ‘Median line,’ a functional cease-fire line over the Taiwan Strait, was infrequently crossed by Chinese military aircraft in the past. However, after Pelosi’s visit, flights went over it for 24 days.

The third ship of the Type 075 amphibious landing helicopter dock (LHD) has also undergone armament trials in the East China Sea with the People’s Liberation Army-Navy’s (PLAN) Eastern Fleet. The Type 075s will also assist in an amphibious landing role in addition to the fleet of hundreds of civilian fishing vessels, maritime militia, and some roll-on roll-over (RoRo) to transport tanks and personnel.

Videos from the State and its military media depict routine amphibious landing drills, including the deployment of tanks and the release of troops onto sandy beaches, honing all necessary strategies and techniques. Experts believe Beijing is now finalising plans for a “blockade of Taiwan” in the near future in light of these activities.

 

What China wants to achieve

In the report, Yujen Kuo, the director of Taiwan’s Institute for National Policy Research, was quoted as saying that “the sharp increase in the number of Chinese military planes flying around Taiwan means that China is at the stage of mobilisation for an immediate invasion of the island whenever necessary.” To put it another way, if necessary, the military exercises might be easily expanded into a real operation to blockade the island.

China has implied that it is legal to conduct military manoeuvres inside its own territory, normalising its incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ and drills around it diplomatically. As a result, what it does in Taiwan is not prohibited. By framing the story in this way, other nations come to accept what is “normal,” which decreases the number of official objections.