China says it conducted ‘readiness patrol’ around Taiwan

Published on Jun 01, 2022 05:01 PM IST

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Wednesday announced the third large-scale military exercise around the self-ruled island of Taiwan in less than a month, calling it a “combat readiness patrol” against what it says is “collusion” between Taipei and Washington

Post-it notes create signs supporting Taiwan and other issues related to China are seen at a pro-independent book store in Taipei, Taiwan. (REUTERS)
Post-it notes create signs supporting Taiwan and other issues related to China are seen at a pro-independent book store in Taipei, Taiwan. (REUTERS)

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Wednesday announced the third large-scale military exercise around the self-ruled island of Taiwan in less than a month, calling it a “combat readiness patrol” against what it says is “collusion” between Taipei and Washington.

“This is a necessary action against the US-Taiwan collusion,” the PLA’s eastern theatre command said, announcing the exercise, and adding that it is putting Taiwan in a “dangerous position”.

While the PLA did not release details of the exercise, the formal announcement of the drill came a day after more than 30 Chinese fighter aircraft violated Taiwan’s airspace.

The Taiwanese air force scrambled its own jets following the incursion.

Chinese state-run media connected Wednesday’s exercise with the visit of US Senator Tammy Duckworth to Taiwan during which President Tsai Ing-wen said that a cooperation plan between the US National Guard and Taiwan’s armed forces was in the works, further roiling Beijing.

China claims the democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and has stepped up military drills around the island of around 23 million people.

Beijing blames the US for ratcheting up tension over Taiwan by selling arms to the island, sending officials to engage with its leadership and pledging to protect in case of a war with China.

“This is also the third large-scale military exercise officially announced by the PLA Eastern Theatre Command over the past 30 days. A joint exercise surrounding the island of Taiwan from its east and southwest was announced on May 9, and a joint alert patrol plus realistic combat drill in and above the waters around the island was announced on May 25,” the nationalistic tabloid, Global Times reported Wednesday.

The command’s spokesperson, Senior Colonel Shi Yi said the US is making frequent moves on the Taiwan question, saying one thing while doing another, openly or secretly encouraging and supporting the “Taiwan independence” force.

Taiwan is part of China and Chinese troops continue to strengthen military training and preparations to “thwart” interference from external forces, Shi said in a statement.

“Such moves will put Taiwan in a dangerous position, and bring serious consequences on itself,” Shi added.

President Tsai said on Tuesday that the US National Guard is planning on “cooperation” with the island’s military.

“As a result, the US department of defence is now proactively planning cooperation between the US National Guard and Taiwan’s defence forces,” Tsai was quoted as saying without giving details.

“We look forward to closer and deeper Taiwan-US cooperation on matters of regional security,” she added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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