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Screen shows news footage of military drills conducted in areas around the island of Taiwan by the Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), in Beijing
A person looks at a screen showing news footage of military drills conducted in areas around the island of Taiwan by the Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), in Beijing, China May 23, 2024. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang Image: Reuters/Tingshu Wang
world

China starts second day of war games around Taiwan to test ability to 'seize power'

33 Comments
By Bernard Orr and Ben Blanchard

China's military started its second day of war games around Taiwan on Friday, with drills to test their ability to "seize power" and control key areas, exercises it has said were launched to punish Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te.

The two days of drills in the Taiwan Strait and around groups of Taiwan-controlled islands near the Chinese coast started just three days after Lai took office. Taiwan has condemned China's actions.

China, which views democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and denounces Lai as a "separatist", decried his inauguration speech on Monday, in which he urged Beijing to stop its threats and said the two sides of the strait were "not subordinate to each other".

The Eastern Theatre Command of the People's Liberation Army said in a brief statement that its forces on Friday continued with their drills, dubbed "Joint Sword - 2024A".

The exercises are to "test the ability to jointly seize power, launch joint attacks and occupy key areas", it said.

China has never ruled out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.

Taiwan's armed forces were mobilised to monitor and shadow Chinese forces.

Taiwan's defence ministry on Friday published pictures of F-16s, armed with live missiles, patrolling the skies.

It also showed pictures of Chinese coast guard vessels, which are taking part in the drills, and Chinese Jiangdao-class corvettes, though it did not say exactly where the images were taken.

Lai has repeatedly offered talks with China but has been rebuffed. He says only Taiwan's people can decide their future, and rejects Beijing's sovereignty claims.

Taiwan is well used to China's military threats, and the latest drills have caused no undue alarm on the island, with life carrying on as normal.

On China's highly regulated Weibo social media site, "Eastern Theatre" was the top searched item, with most of the comments supporting the drills. Another hot topic was "the return of Taiwan".

The defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong's communists, who founded the People's Republic of China.

The Republic of China remains Taiwan's official name, though only 12 countries formally recognise it diplomatically, mostly small, developing nations like Palau and Guatemala.

In a Friday commentary, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party, the People's Daily, said it was a shared belief among Chinese people that the territory of the nation cannot be divided, the country cannot be thrown into chaos and its people cannot be separated.

The recent actions of the "leader of the Taiwan region" will only accelerate the "destruction" of pro-independence forces in Taiwan, it wrote.

China is willing to create "broad space for peaceful reunification", but will never leave any room Taiwan "separatist activities", the newspaper added.

Analysts, regional diplomats and senior Taiwan officials noted that so far the scale of the drills were smaller than the similar exercises in 2022 and were widely anticipated by Taiwanese and foreign officials, but they still raised the risk of accidents or miscalculations.

They said Beijing was sending a finely calibrated warning that Chinese forces could attempt a swift blockade if it wanted to bring Lai to heel.

© Thomson Reuters 2024.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

33 Comments
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Imagine starting war games over a free election.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

There is a legitimate position that Taiwan is a province of China with Beijing as the capital. International law and the lack of UN recognition for Taiwan underpin this.

-21 ( +3 / -24 )

JJE

thats right.

-18 ( +3 / -21 )

JJEToday 01:44 pm JST

There is a legitimate position that Taiwan is a province of China with Beijing as the capital. International law and the lack of UN recognition for Taiwan underpin this.

Would like to see the UN enforce its shameful position that Taiwan is not a country. I suspect you'd find the OECD back on the side of admitting Taiwan once again.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

to test their ability to "seize power" and control key areas, exercises 

'To test', does that sound better than "we're not going to invade"? And if they do end up controlling 'key areas' what will the justification be? Maybe 'we just want everything in the Taipei Ceramics Museum' especially the pork belly stone'.

But no reasonable people are going to believe the CCP, they've lost all credibility, just like their partners in Moscow. China and Russia have lots of internal problems that need tending to, it would be nice if they stop trying to bring the world down to their level. The era of feudal powers should have long passed, it's a shame China and Russia were left behind, maybe most Chinese and Russian citizens, and their global supporters want to be controlled by big brother in the form of a tsar or empeor, most reasonable people do not.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

China is willing to create "broad space for peaceful reunification", but will never leave any room Taiwan "separatist activities", the newspaper added.

No will of the people then? No referendum? Just coercion. It's really all China knows. Pathetic really.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Russia swapped out the population of Crimea to make it more 'Russian'.

China would not need to do that in Taiwan if they ever attempted to 'seize' it, as the article says. There is no problem of population imbalance, just that the majority of Taiwanese of all ethnicities are happy with the historical status-quo, if their brothers and sisters in China would just be warmer and less pushy-aggressive.

This reminds me of the story of the sun vying with the wind to see who could make the person take off their coat. The cold wind blew harder and harder, and the person hugged their coat tighter. The sun won the bet when the person took it off voluntarily.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Perhaps it is time for some "war games" around Taiwan held by Taiwan and all its friends to show China how their forces would be annihilated by the supporting forces and Taiwan, in the event China is unwise enough to attempt an invasion or blockade of Taiwan, who the world relies upon for some critical trade items.

Oh it will never happen, to be sure, but it would be nice to see the outrage in China, and a few veins bursting in officials as they "solomnly protest" the "outrageous" actions by warmongering nations from around the world. The irony being its is wrong for anyone to do such a thing near Chinese territory, but not a problem for China to do it to others.

China has such disgusting leaders, I feel sorry for what Chinese people are forced to put up with on a daily basis.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

There is a legitimate position that Taiwan is a province of China with Beijing as the capital. International law and the lack of UN recognition for Taiwan underpin this.

What part of international law says that? The mere fact that Taiwan isn't a UN member state doesn't mean it is part of China.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Watching the CCP react to anything they don’t like reminds me of the days when i was 9 years old and told that recess was cancelled because of rain.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Take trade away from China and they'd join the DPRK as a pariah state overnight. What an utterly unlikable government.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Watching the CCP react to anything they don’t like reminds me of the days when i was 9 years old and told that recess was cancelled because of rain.

Nice one. The tantrums are not befitting of a country that touts its age. Maturity and wisdom never came with that. "There's no fool like an old fool", my dad used to say. Maybe China will look back one day and cringe with shame at its behaviour and the world laughing at it.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

albaleoToday 04:53 pm JST

Even more glaring, there is general widespread support in certain quarters for breakaway provinces being reunited by force elsewhere.

I'm guessing you are talking about Crimea and eastern Ukraine. If so, then I agree there are a lot of inconsistent opinions going around. The UN charter talks of the self-determination of peoples. I generally support that idea - the people of Taiwan and parts of Ukraine should be able to decide their futures.

However, I'm less sure about what approach should be taken about Taiwan. Would the people there prefer a war to becoming a part of China? Perhaps not, especially those whose main concern is their children's well-being. I'd like to see more countries push the idea of self-determination, and pressure China to support the idea. But sadly, it seems many countries are not generally in favor of the principle. (What would the USA do if Texas or California chose to become independent nations?)

Self-determination was supposed to be about the end of actual colonialism, not "well, Baker St. did a straw poll and they want to be independent, so I guess now is the time for the Republic of Baker St.". The UN Charter clearly lays out respecting territorial integrity under a section of "don'ts" while the "self-determination" is in an aspirational section not rigorously defined.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

TaiwanIsNotChina,

The UN Charter clearly lays out respecting territorial integrity

So what gives Taiwan the right to be independent?

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

albaleoToday 05:19 pm JST

TaiwanIsNotChina,

The UN Charter clearly lays out respecting territorial integrity

So what gives Taiwan the right to be independent?

It's been independent since 1912.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Well, self-determination in the context of colonialism isn't applicable to Taiwan by any measure in that case.

Yesterday it was 75 years (1949), today it is 1912. Now that's a jump and definitely not consistent.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

Maybe we could make 24th May a "Laugh at petulant China Day". That would really get under their skin. Could be like grey-zone conflict.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

It's been independent since 1912.

Yet its unelected government from 1949 to about 1990 said it was part of China. Taiwan's history is quite complicated and messy. If "territorial integrity" is the defining factor of a nation, then there could be all kinds of claims. Is self-determination by the people of Taiwan not the most straightforward way to determine its status?

Your Baker St. example is not really practical. But let's say Tokyo's Shibuya ward declared independence following a vote of residents. They would have a border around it, and the residents could be forced to remain there and no one allowed to enter for work or any other reason. It's not workable and wouldn't be recognized by any other country. Taiwan is a different matter.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

China claims to own everything, when in fact they do not.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Taiwan is China. It cannot be any other way.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

Taiwan is NOT China. It cannot be any other way.

They have a democracy. People there have freedom of speech and know how treacherous the mainland govt is. Taiwan didn't unleash COVID on the world and doesn't bully neighbors, nor overfish not just inside their own EEZ, but thousands of KMs away in other country's EEZs. When was the last time Taiwan had a concerted effort to block citizens from leaving or migrating elsewhere. Uh ... never.

And when did mainland China ever have any govt under the CCP that controlled Taiwan? Uh .... never. Taiwan is NOT China. It cannot be any other way.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The Fu, Taiwan has not been a democratic government that long it used to be under military rule

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Taiwan support in only by a bunch of uneducated White politicians,who do not believe in the foundation of liberty, equality and justice for all in America,

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

JJEMay 24 05:36 pm JST

Well, self-determination in the context of colonialism isn't applicable to Taiwan by any measure in that case.

I never said it was applicable.

Yesterday it was 75 years (1949), today it is 1912. Now that's a jump and definitely not consistent.

The war was over 75 years ago with the failure of the communists to eliminate the ROC. Independence has been since 1912. I realize it is tough for some people to keep facts straight.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

See Qing dynasty records incorporating the island of Taiwan as a prefecture of the Fujian Province in 1684.

What part of international law says that?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

deanzaZZRToday 01:31 am JST

See Qing dynasty records incorporating the island of Taiwan as a prefecture of the Fujian Province in 1684.

What part of international law says that?

See the the Xinhai Revolution that ended the Qing dynasty permanently.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

See Qing dynasty records incorporating the island of Taiwan as a prefecture of the Fujian Province in 1684.

Too old. Taiwan is independent.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Taiwan obviously needs a nuclear weapons program if they don’t have one already. Nobody is talking about conquering North Korea. Nukes now. The ultimate keep-away strategy.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

See Qing dynasty records incorporating the island of Taiwan as a prefecture of the Fujian Province in 1684.

See Qing Dynasty records handing over Hong Kong Island to Britain in perpetuity.

As for Taiwan, Japan had control of it, Japan surrendered to USA, USA has final say, and there is NO formal declaration other than a one country agreement. The two system remains at USA's discretion.

UK handed HK Island over at its discretion, it must be the biggest bee in the bonnet of the CCP that they couldn't control these major territorial lust.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Taiwan obviously needs a nuclear weapons program

Wot?

Seriously, China is buying gold like there's a war yesterday, it's also dumping US treasuries like there's a war yesterday. Taiwan is begging for more military sales, AND businesses like Tesla has just requested its supply chain be OOC and OOT, that's outside China and Taiwan due to risk. Have a guess what the risk is.

The CCP has been on a territorial lust crusade since it gained power. We do not need to add nukes to this mix.

https://x.com/NikkeiAsia/status/1793983638272373185

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Potsdam Declaration endorsed the language in the Cairo Declaration that Taiwan, and the Pescadores were to be handed back to China. This was an agreement endorsed by Franklin, Churchill and Chiang.

The USA has final say. lol.

As for Taiwan, Japan had control of it, Japan surrendered to USA, USA has final say, and there is NO formal declaration other than a one country agreement.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The Potsdam Declaration endorsed the language in the Cairo Declaration that Taiwan, and the Pescadores were to be handed back to China. This was an agreement endorsed by Franklin, Churchill and Chiang.

Taiwan was handed to ROC and remains with ROC.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is only Chinese Taiwan. American Taiwan does not exist in the world

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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