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17 Aug, 2021 11:52

China conducts assault drills near Taiwan after 'provocations' of US increasing military and political ties with the island

China conducts assault drills near Taiwan after 'provocations' of US increasing military and political ties with the island

China's military has deployed warships and fighter jets on assault drills near the south of Taiwan in response to the "provocations" of heightened US military presence and of US ties with the island, which China calls "collusion."

On Tuesday, China's People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Eastern Theater Command conducted "joint live-fire drills involving forces of multiple services including naval warships, anti-submarine aircraft and fighter jets" around the southeast and southwest of the island of Taiwan.

Citing the reasons for the drills, senior army colonel for the Chinese armed forces, Shi Yi, explained that the exercises were to test the troops' capability and to "further safeguard China's sovereignty."

The written statement slammed the US for having often "colluded" with Taiwan, stating that Washington creates "provocations" that send the wrong signals to the island and which have "seriously violated China's sovereignty." The spokesperson for the PLA's Eastern Theater Command vowed to keep strengthening the capability of its division to thwart any sentiment of "Taiwan independence."

The collusion mentioned in the statement refers to the US' increased military and political involvement with Taiwan. In April, the Biden administration sent an unofficial delegation of representatives to Taiwan, and has been sailing several vessels through the South China Sea since he assumed office. 

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The exercises follow after China's state-run Global Times newspaper sternly warned that Taiwan should take note of the US' withdrawal in Afghanistan, which swiftly fell to the Taliban, saying that Washington will eventually abandon the island the same way. An editorial article by the outlet said: "They should perceive that once a war breaks out in the Straits, the island's defense will collapse in hours, and the US military won't come to help."

Beijing, which deems Taiwan to be an integral part of its territory under the 'One China' policy, has frequently bashed Washington for its involvement in the Straits as upsetting a "status quo."

China has carried out several missions near the island in recent months. In June, the PLA deployed 28 military planes in Taiwan's air defense zone, with Taipei remarking that this was the largest "incursion" to date. 

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