NewsChina ramps up military exercises near Taiwan after new president swears in

China ramps up military exercises near Taiwan after new president swears in

Chinese army exercises around Taiwan. Illustrative photo
Chinese army exercises around Taiwan. Illustrative photo
Images source: © East News | Lin Jian

5:14 AM EDT, May 23, 2024

The Chinese army began joint exercises around Taiwan on Thursday morning, as reported by Chinese state media. This development occurred just two days after the inauguration of Taiwan's new president.

The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) commenced joint military exercises around Taiwan at 3:45 AM (7:45 PM Eastern Time), according to Xinhua news.

The news agency reported that the exercises are being conducted in the Taiwan Strait, to the north, south, and east of Taiwan, as well as in areas around the Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin islands.

In response, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense stated that it "strongly condemns such irrational provocations and actions that undermine peace and stability in the region," as reported by AFP.

"We have deployed navy, air, and ground forces to defend the freedom, democracy, and sovereignty of the Republic of China (Taiwan)," the ministry added.

Taiwan with a new president

China's actions come just two days after the inauguration of Taiwan's new president, Lai Ching-te. On Tuesday, China criticized the president's inaugural speech given the day before, describing it as "Taiwan declaring its support for independence."

"This speech can be described as a declaration of support for Taiwan's independence and could lead to retaliation in the future," stated the Chinese Government Taiwan Affairs Office on Tuesday.

"Taiwanese separatists will go down in history on the shameful side," commented Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday.

"I want to call on China to stop politically and militarily intimidating Taiwan; we also want to announce to the world that Taiwan will not compromise on issues of democracy and freedom," said Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te on Monday.

The Chinese side, which in previous months had described Lai as a "separatist," characterized his latest statements as a "dangerous" signal that does not contribute to regional stability.

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