China launched air and sea military drills around Taiwan on Saturday (8/19/23) as a warning after the island’s Vice President William Lai’s recent visit to the United States. Taiwan confirmed that 42 warplanes entered its air defense zone while 8 Chinese vessels participated in the exercise. Of the 42 warplanes, 26 crossed the Taiwan Straight median line, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defence. The Defence Ministry condemned the military drills, saying they do not help promote peace and stability in the region. The Ministry also added that such exercises showcase China’s militaristic mentality.
On Saturday, the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theatre Command released a statement that they were testing combat capabilities and seizing air and sea space control. This might seem provocative because China claims to govern Taiwan democratically as its own territory.
Last Year, China launched a military exercise after the previous Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi visited the island, and President Tsai Ing-Wen made a stopover in the United States.
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry posted on social media confirming that they have deployed land-based missile systems, combat aircraft, and naval vessels to monitor the military drills. The Ministry further stated that Taipei has the confidence, determination, and ability to guarantee national security.
Posting on his social media, Joseph Wu, Taiwan’s foreign minister, accused China of trying to interfere with the presidential elections due in January 2024. After Lai’s visit, the United States called for calm, terming the vice president’s visit routine travel.
On Friday (8/18/23), the leaders of the United States, South Korea, and Japan condemned China’s move terming it as ‘dangerous and aggressive.’ In a joint statement, the leaders reaffirmed that stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait are indispensable and play a crucial role in the prosperity of the international community.