China Conducts Large-Scale 'Combat' Drills Near Taiwan

China's military said on Sunday that it has conducted large-scale "joint combat readiness patrols and actual combat drills" around Taiwan, marking the second round of drills in less than a month.

China Conducts Large-Scale 'Combat' Drills Near Taiwan
Image credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images [via CNN]

Facts

  • China's military said on Sunday that it has conducted large-scale "joint combat readiness patrols and actual combat drills" around Taiwan, marking the second round of drills in less than a month.
  • A statement from the PRC's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Command said the combat drills were to test troops' ability to counter provocative activities by "external forces" and separatist elements seeking Taiwan's independence.
  • According to Taiwan's Ministry of Defense, the PLA's recent exercises included 57 combat aircraft, 28 of which entered the so-called Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone, with several also crossing the Taiwan Strait’s median line.
  • On Monday, Taipei condemned China's combat exercise, saying Beijing was making "groundless accusations." Taiwan's presidential office said it will neither provoke nor escalate conflicts but will remain resolute in defending its sovereignty and security.
  • Also on Monday, a high-ranking parliamentary delegation from Germany arrived on a four-day visit to Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, to send a "sign of solidarity" with the island and discuss the current "threat situation."
  • Meanwhile, the US and Japan are reportedly deepening the integration of command structures and intensifying joint operations amid a possible conflict with China over Taiwan. US-Japan security talks will be held Wednesday ahead of a bilateral summit between the two nations in Washington on Friday.

Sources: Al Jazeera, CNN, Japan Times, Reuters, DW, and FT.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Newsweek. China is preparing for war against Taiwan as part of its policy of "reunification" with the semi-autonomous island, and the only way to prevent such an event is to bolster Washington's deterrence and power projection in the region through additional national security funding. This would also convince US regional allies to invest more in their security. Dictatorships in this rising tide of autocracy understand only the language of power — Russia's Ukraine invasion is proof that Washington must act now before it's too late.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Global Times. Due to the overbearing US actions and Washington's departure from the One China policy, tensions between China and the US are rising. As with Ukraine, Washington and its Western allies are using Taiwan for geopolitical goals instead of focusing on the fact that the Taiwanese voted in local elections against such an aggressive stance against China. Beijing is pursuing the goal of peaceful reunification, but since the hegemonic US misinterprets this as a "sign of weakness," the risk of military escalation is increasing.