Chinese maneuvers around Taiwan: an American ship deployed around the island, Beijing denounces an "intrusion"

On the third day in a row of military exercises on the outskirts of Taiwan, the Chinese army affirmed, Monday, April 10, to have "successfully completed" its maneuvers off the autonomous island that Beijing claims

Chinese maneuvers around Taiwan: an American ship deployed around the island, Beijing denounces an "intrusion"

On the third day in a row of military exercises on the outskirts of Taiwan, the Chinese army affirmed, Monday, April 10, to have "successfully completed" its maneuvers off the autonomous island that Beijing claims. The Chinese military said it was able to "extensively test its [joint] combat capability (…) in real-life conditions," in a social media post. However, the Chinese authorities have decided to conduct new exercises on April 11, 13, 15, 17 and 20, near part of the coast of Fujian province, with access to civilian ships prohibited.

Ahead of the announcement, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “Taiwan independence and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are mutually exclusive. He added, “If we want to protect peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, we must firmly oppose any form of separatism for Taiwan independence. For their part, the Chinese military authorities now consider themselves "combat-ready". “Our troops are ready and can fight at any time to resolutely crush any desire for “Taiwan independence” and any form of foreign interference. »

Earlier in the day, China also denounced "an illegal intrusion" following the deployment of an American destroyer USS Milius in an area of ​​​​southern China which it claims, through the voice of Tian Junli, carries -word of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command. "This freedom of navigation operation respected the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea," the U.S. Navy said in a statement, noting that the vessel passed close to the Spratly Islands, as well as within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) from Mischief Reef, claimed by China and other countries in the region. Beijing claimed to carry out "surveillance of the vessel".

Twelve Chinese ships and 91 planes detected near the island

These military maneuvers around Taiwan were launched on Saturday by Beijing after the meeting, Wednesday in California, of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy, to which she had promised to react with "firm and forceful" measures.

They aim to establish Chinese capabilities to “take control of the sea, airspace and information (…) in order to create deterrence and total encirclement [of the island of 23 million inhabitants] “, affirmed Saturday the Chinese state television.

On Monday, the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense said it detected 12 Chinese warships and 91 aircraft around the island. The Chinese military "continues to conduct military exercises around Taiwan," the ministry said, adding that fighter jets and bombers were among the aircraft spotted as of 10 a.m. local time. "While the Eastern Theater Command (of the Chinese military) has announced the end of its exercise, the military will never relax its efforts to enhance its combat readiness," Taiwan's defense ministry said in a statement. a statement.

Hours later, it was Taiwan's foreign ministry that accused China of "deliberately using military exercises to undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait", adding that Taipei would maintain close ties with the United States "to jointly deter [this] authoritarian expansion".

China has said it has mobilized fighter jets "carrying live ammunition" to carry out "simulated strikes" near Taiwan, as well as its aircraft carrier Shandong, a first, according to the Chinese military, for exercises. military including the encirclement of Taiwan.

"Several groups of H-6K fighters carrying live ammunition carried out several waves of simulated strikes on important targets on the island of Taiwan," according to state broadcaster CCTV, the Eastern Theater Command. of the People's Liberation Army, noting that Shandong also "participated in today's exercise".

Support from the Kremlin and concern from Japan

On Monday, the Japanese general staff said it had observed the Shandong, and several other Chinese warships, in an area between 230 and 430 kilometers south of the Japanese island of Miyako since Friday. "About 120 take-offs and landings" have been confirmed on the aircraft carrier, performed by 80 fighter jets and 40 helicopters, according to its statement.

In response, the Japanese General Staff mobilized two escort groups for a surveillance mission and deployed "air self-defense force fighter jets". The country has long been concerned about China's military activities in the region, given the proximity of the southern Japanese islands to Taiwan. The United States also said on Sunday that it was closely monitoring the exercises of the Chinese army.

"We are concerned about the intensification of military activities by the People's Liberation Army in the Taiwan Strait and around Taiwan," the European Commission reacted on Monday, through its spokesperson for affairs. foreigners, Nabila Massrali. “The status quo should not be changed unilaterally or by force,” she added, before launching, “Restraint is essential. Tensions must be resolved through constructive and open dialogue. »

Facing them, only Moscow has publicly supported Beijing's military maneuvers. "China has the sovereign right to react to these provocative actions, including by conducting maneuvers," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

The last major military deployment around Taiwan was in August, when China engaged in unprecedented maneuvers and fired missiles in response to a visit to the island by Democrat Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the House of Representatives.