China Conducts “Punishment” Drills Near Taiwan as a Warning

( – Tensions between China and Taiwan have been escalated for years. China believes the island belongs under its umbrella and has said it will stop at nothing, including force, to bring it back under its rule. Taiwan recently inaugurated its new president, Lai Ching-te. Coincidentally, or not, China announced it would be conducting two days of military drills around the island.

In the aftermath of the announcement, Taiwan activated its own forces. In a video on X, formerly Twitter, its Ministry of National Defense said it would not back down and deployed naval, missile, and land units, and scrambled jets.

The military exercises, according to China’s military, were meant as a “strong punishment for the separatist acts.” Spokesperson Li Xi said it was also aimed at sending a “stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces.” Some of the activities included the practice of seizing the island.

This is hardly the first time Beijing has mobilized its forces in a show of force against Taiwan. In fact, it’s a near-daily event meant to wear down the self-governed island’s defenses. The new president has implored Beijing to stop its harassment and intimidation and committed to “neither yield nor provoke” the mainland. He condemned the military exercises, but he wasn’t alone. Taiwan’s Nationalist Party, which is largely seen as pro-China, joined in on the condemnation, too. Lai has also tried, unsuccessfully, to engage in negotiations with Beijing, a move that has been rebuffed.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Stephen Sklenka of the US Indo-Pacific Command, said the behavior is all but expected anymore, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be publicly addressed. He said that not only should the condemnation come from the United States and Taiwan, but it will have “a far more powerful effect … when it comes from nations within this region.”

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