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China conducts ‘encirclement’ military drills around Taiwan

china conducts military drills near Taiwan
© Brian Matangelo

China has launched military drills around Taiwan as it seeks to assert its ability to project power in the region. The drills, which were dubbed “United Sharp Sword,” involve a three-day training exercise that began early on Saturday. The move was seen as a “stern warning” by Beijing after Taiwan’s president held a meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. During the live-fire drills, a Chinese warship fired multiple artillery rounds in the Luoyan Bay.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry has reported 42 Chinese planes and eight ships in the region on Saturday morning. Of the detected aircraft, 29 had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered the southwest air defense identification zone, “attempting coercion on us,” according to a statement by the ministry.

China has previously threatened retaliation if the meeting between Taiwan’s president and the US House Speaker took place. Last August, Beijing staged war games around Taiwan, including live-fire missile launches, after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei.

China views Taiwan as a breakaway province that must eventually be brought under its control, while Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state. The exercises, which include fighter jets, warships, and the firing of ballistic missiles, represent China’s largest show of force in years.