The joint combat strike drills are intended to discourage separatism, according to Chinese officials
FILE PHOTO: People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy personnel stand under maritime signal flags. © Felix Wong / South China Morning Post via Getty Images
China has announced a military exercise near Taiwan on the eve of visits by German and Lithuanian lawmakers to the self-governed island. The drill has been described as countering “separatist forces.”
The training exercise was announced on Sunday by Colonel Shi Yi, the spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). He said it would involve sea and airspace maneuvers around Taiwan, focusing on land strikes and amphibious assault action.
The exercise was “designed to test the joint combat capabilities of the troops and resolutely counteract the provocative actions of external forces and ‘Taiwan independence’ separatists,” a statement said.
Taiwan is a Chinese island that served as the last bastion of nationalist forces during the 1940s civil war. It is self-governed, but is recognized as part of China by most nations.
The island’s military reported detecting at least four PLA ships on Monday, along with scores of military aircraft in the Taiwan Strait. It said Taiwan’s naval, aerial and ground assets were monitoring the situation and were ready to respond.