China’s military declared on Monday that it is “ready to fight” a war after completing three days of large-scale combat exercises around Taiwan. The drills simulated sealing off the island in response to the Taiwanese president’s trip to the United States last week.
The “combat readiness patrols” named Joint Sword were meant as a warning to self-governing Taiwan, which China claims as its own, China’s military said earlier. “The theater’s troops are ready to fight at all times and can fight at any time to resolutely smash any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ and foreign interference attempts,” it said Monday according to a report by The Associated Press.
The exercises were similar to ones conducted by China last August, when it launched missile strikes on targets in the seas around Taiwan in retaliation for then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, but have been smaller and less disruptive.
Military experts say the exercises serve both as intimidation and as an opportunity for Chinese troops to practice sealing off Taiwan by blocking sea and air traffic, an important strategic option the Chinese military might pursue in the event it uses military force to take Taiwan. –The Associated Press
China continues to get angered at the relations between the U.S. and Taiwan.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reiterated the position of President Joe Biden’s administration that Tsai’s transit through the U.S. and the congressional visit to Taiwan was not out of the norm. Tsai transited through the United States six times between 2016 and 2019.
“There was no reason to react in any way militarily,” he said. “There’s no reason for tensions across the Taiwan Strait to devolve into any kind of conflict.”
“China wants to use any increase of diplomatic interactions between the U.S. and Taiwan as an excuse to train its military,” said Kuo Yu-jen, a defense studies expert and director of the Institute for National Policy Research in Taiwan.