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China accuses President Lai of pushing Taiwan towards "war"

China has accusedé New Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te on Friday to push the autonomous island towards "war" and threatened to react ever more strongly until "the complete reunification of the homeland", on the 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 ministry spokesperson, said in a statement.

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

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

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

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

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

< IMG Alt = "Taiwanese Coast Guards" SRC = "https://img-4.linternaute.com/68hu1_z1pl1ssbr9akoavapkjgs=/600x/smart/3ce295d48dbf46568ff5065f6075a8b1/ccmcms- PG " />Photo released by the Taiwan Coast Guard on May 24, 2024, shows a Taiwan Coast Guard vessel (L) monitoring a Chinese Coast Guard vessel near Wuqiu Island © Taiwanese Coast Guard – Handout

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

Beijing presented these military exercises on Thursday as a “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 ” –

In Pingtan, a Chinese island located 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.

China accuses President Lai of pushing Taiwan towards "war"

China's military exercises around Taiwan © AFP – Nicholas SHEARMAN

“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 showed soldiers running out of a building to their combat posts and fighter jets taking 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 falling on key targets to the north, south and east of the island, with a message claiming that this would ” cutting off the blood vessels of Taiwan's independence.”

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

< IMG Alt = "AFP" SRC = "https://img-4.linternaute.com/9rxr276n9fh8xudleok7uk7u- " /> Taiwanese Air Force F-16 fighter jets under shelters at an airbase in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, May 24, 2024 © AFP – Yasuyoshi CHIBA

Four Chinese coast guard vessels entered the “forbidden waters” of two Taiwanese islands in the morning, said the coast guard of the autonomous territory, which “urged China to show restraint and stop immediately its irrational behavior.”

Taiwan “will defend the values ​​of freedom and democracy”, assured Mr. Lai on 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 communists coming to power in 1949.

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

China accuses President Lai of pushing Taiwan towards "war"

A giant screen broadcasts images of Chinese military exercises around Taiwan, May 23, 2024 in Beijing © AFP – Jade Gao

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 its performance oath on Monday, Lai Ching-te called on China to “cease its political and military intimidation”.

Taiwanese separatists “will be nailed to the pillory of shame for History”, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, reacted the next day.

The previous large-scale Chinese military exercises 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 coming to the island of Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the American House of Representatives.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

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