China Holds Taiwan War Games, Vows Blood Of ‘Independence Forces’

China encircled Taiwan on Thursday with military aircraft and naval vessels in a war game, vowing that the blood of the “independence force” on the island will flow.

These two days of drills form part of a escalating campaign by China to intimidate Taiwan. In recent years, China has conducted a number of large-scale exercises in the area.

The drills follow Lai Ching Te’s inauguration as Taiwan’s president, which China has denounced for being a “confession to independence”.

China’s military announced that the drills would be “a strong punishment for the separatist actions of ‘Taiwan Independence’ forces”.

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Wang Wenbin, spokesman for the foreign ministry, then issued a warning in language that is more common among China’s propaganda outlets.

Wang told reporters that “Taiwan’s independence forces would be left with blood and broken heads after colliding with the great… trend… of China achieving total unification.”

China, ruled by the Communist Party of China since 1949, claims Taiwan to be part of its territory. It has also vowed that it will bring the democratic island into its control by force.

China’s People’s Liberation Army said that the drills on Thursday and Friday — codenamed Joint Sword-2024A — will involve aircraft and vessels surrounding the island in order to test their combat abilities.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry responded with air, land and sea forces. It also vowed to “defend the freedom”.

In a speech delivered on Thursday, President Lai stated that he will “stand at the frontline” to defend Taiwan. He did not directly refer to the ongoing exercises.

He said: “As we face external threats and challenges, we will continue defending the values of democracy and freedom, and safeguarding peace and stability in this region.”

China has repeatedly called Lai “a dangerous separatist” that would bring “war” and “decline” to the island.

Beijing was even more incensed by his Monday inauguration speech in which he celebrated a “glorious era” for Taiwan’s democratic system.

Drills began Thursday morning in the Taiwan Strait, the areas to the north, east, and south of the island as well as the Taipei administered islands of Kinmen Matsu Wuqiu Dongyin.

China’s military released a series posters promoting its “cross-strait ruthlessness”. The posters featured jets, rockets and ships next to bloodstained text.

It declared that “the weapon targeting ‘Taiwan Independence’ to kill independence is already in place.”

Beijing, which split from Taipei 75 years ago at the end a civil conflict, views the island as an independent province that must be reunited.

China has increased pressure on the 23-million-person island, periodically fueling fears of an invasion.

An expert in Chinese military told CCTV that part of the drills was to practice an economic blockade on the island.

Zhang Chi, professor at Beijing’s China National Defense University said that the drills were designed to “strangle” Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Port to “severely affect” its foreign trade.

He added that they would “block the support lines” some US allies give to “Taiwan Independence’ forces, as well as cut off “Taiwan’s lifeline of imports”.

Last August, Lai, the then vice president of China, visited Paraguay and stopped in the United States.

According to state media, these drills also tested PLA’s “ability to seize control of the air and sea space” and combat “in real battle conditions”.

These drills followed those in April that simulated the encirclement the island. They were launched after Lai’s predecessor Tsai ing-wen had met with then US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was visiting California.

After Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, the then speaker of the US House of Representatives.

The world powers want to maintain as much stability between China and Taiwan as possible, not least due to the important role that the island plays in global economics.

Taiwan Strait is an important trade route for the world, and the island is also a major producer of semiconductors, the tiny chips that are used in everything, from smartphones to missiles systems.

In 1979, the United States changed its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan from China to Taiwan. However, it remains Taiwan’s biggest ally and major supplier of military equipment.

US President Joe Biden said that while he did not support Taiwan’s independent status, he also supported the sending of forces to defend Taiwan. US official position on the issue of intervention is ambiguous.

The United States has not yet officially responded to the drills.

Speaking in Canberra, US Lieutenant General Stephen Sklenka described the exercises as “concerning”, but not unexpected.