Spread the love

China accuses President Lai of pushing Taiwan towards “war”

Photo: People's Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command Agence France-Press A Chinese plane in flight during military maneuvers called “Joint Sword-2024A”, May 23, 2024.

James Edgar – Agence France-Presse and Peter Catterall – Agence France-Presse respectively in Beijing and Pingtan

Published at 11:48 a.m.

  • Asia

China on Friday accused new Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te of pushing the island towards “war” and threatened to react ever more strongly until “the complete reunification of the homeland”, second day of large-scale military maneuvers.

“Since taking office (Monday, Editor's note), the leader of the Taiwan region has seriously questioned the principle of one China […], which pushes our compatriots in Taiwan into a perilous situation of war and danger,” Wu Qian, a spokesperson for the ministry, said in a statement.

“This is called playing with fire, and those who play with fire are will definitely burn. »

“Every time [the movement supporting] “Taiwan independence” provokes us, we will go a little further with our countermeasures, until “that the complete reunification of the motherland is achieved”, the spokesperson warned.

These statements come as warships and fighter planes Chinese encircle Taiwan, of which Beijing claims sovereignty, as part of military maneuvers called “Joint Sword-2024A”.

“Since 7:14 a.m. today, 62 aircraft have been detected… of which 47 have crossed the median line” in the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan's Defense Ministry said in a statement Friday evening.

This is the highest number of aircraft seen in 24 hours this year. The ministry also identified 27 ships from the Chinese navy and coast guard, mobilized for these exercises.

Started Thursday morning in the strait, around Taiwan and near the surrounding islands, these maneuvers involve the army, the navy, the air force and the rocket unit.

Also read

  • China tests its military capacity to 'take power' in Taiwan
  • China surrounds Taiwan in military maneuvers
  • China threatens new Taiwanese president with “retaliation”

They should last until Friday inclusive but analysts warn that they could be extended or renewed soon.

The objective is to verify the “capability of seizing power and joint strikes, as well as controlling key territories,” Li Xi, spokesperson for the Chinese military's Eastern Theater Command, said Friday.

Beijing presented these military exercises on Thursday as “severe punishment” against the “separatists” of the island who will end “in blood”, in reaction to Lai Ching-te's inauguration speech on Monday , perceived by China as an “admission of Taiwan’s independence”.

Do not “resist”

On Pingtan, a Chinese island in the Taiwan Strait, tourists posed Friday in front of a sign marking “The closest distance between the motherland and the island of Taiwan”, or 126 kilometers.

“We share common roots,” Chen Yan, a 60-year-old woman from Wuhan (center), told AFP. “So I think there will definitely be unification.”

Videos released by the Chinese army on Friday show soldiers running out of a building to return to their combat stations and fighter planes take off to the sound of military music.

According to state television CCTV, Chinese naval officers called on their Taiwanese counterparts not to “resist reunification by force.”

An animated Chinese military graphic shows a hail of missiles raining down on key targets on the island, with a message claiming this would “cut the blood vessels of Taiwan's independence.”

During the day, “numerous groups of fighter jets loaded with live ammunition moved quickly toward the targeted airspace,” state television reported CCTV, referring to “simulated strikes against important targets”.

Four Chinese coast guard ships entered the “forbidden waters” of two Taiwanese islands in the morning , said the Taiwan Coast Guard, which “urged China to exercise restraint and immediately cease its irrational behavior.”

Taiwan “will defend the values ​​of freedom and democracy,” Mr. Lai assured Thursday, promising to stand on “the front line.”

UN appeal

China considers Taiwan to be one of its provinces, which it has not yet succeeded in reunifying with its territory since the end of the civil war and the coming to power of the communists in 1949.

In recent years, it has intensified its threats and political, economic and military pressure on Taiwan.

The UN called on all parties to “refrain from any action that could escalate tensions.”

The People's Republic of China says it favors “peaceful” reunification with the island territory of 23 million inhabitants, but does not rule out using force.

During his swearing-in on Monday, Lai Ching-te called on China to “stop its political and military intimidation”.

The Taiwanese separatists “will be pilloried of shame for History,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reacted the next day.

Previous military exercises large-scale discussions around Taiwan took place in August 2023 after a visit by Mr. Lai, then vice-president, to the United States.

Beijing had also launched maneuvers of historic scale in August 2022 after the visit to the island of Nancy Pelosi, then President of the American House of Representatives.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116