As China continues its military maneuvers in the waters around Taiwan, the island nation also begins artillery target practice. They are intended to ward off a possible Chinese attack, but have been planned for some time.
Taiwan, for its part, has begun drills to ward off a possible attack after days of massive Chinese military maneuvers. Live artillery shells were fired in Taiwan's southernmost district of Pingtung. An army spokesman confirmed the start of the exercise. He had previously announced that the Taiwanese army would "practice countermeasures against simulated enemy attacks on Taiwan" on Tuesday and Thursday. Hundreds of soldiers and around 40 howitzers would be used. The exercises had been planned for a long time and were not a reaction to China's maneuvers.
China began massive military maneuvers in the waters around Taiwan last week after US top politician Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. Despite all the protests and contrary to its own announcements, China continued its military exercises on Monday. Beijing had actually announced that it wanted to end the exercises on Sunday.
Since the split between China and Taiwan in 1949, Beijing has viewed the island as a breakaway territory that it wants to reunite with the mainland - if necessary, using military force. The conflict between Beijing and Taipei had recently intensified under Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has also fueled fears that Beijing could use a similar approach when dealing with Taiwan.