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China holds large military drills near Taiwan

July 12, 2023

China's mass military exercises near Taiwan come at a time when NATO is holding a summit where leaders have called China as an opposing force with its "ambitions and coercive policies."

A Chinese warship sails during a military drill near Taiwan-controlled islands
China has not commented on any of the drills it has conducted near TaiwanImage: Thomas Peter/Reuters

China conducted a second day of military exercises, sending navy ships and a large group of warplanes, including fighter jets and bombers toward Taiwan, the island's defense ministry said on Wednesday.

By 7 a.m. local time (2300 GMT) Taiwan had detected 30 Chinese aircraft over the sea, which included J-10 and J-16 fighters. On Wednesday, a total of 23 planes crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait, which acts as a security buffer zone.

Similar military activity by China was reported on Tuesday in the same area when 32 Chinese air force planes had crossed the midline. The drill included four nuclear-capable H-6 bombers that flew to Taiwan's south

The Chinese aircraft flew in coordination with its ships to carry out joint training to the south of Taiwan, and four of its warships were engaged in "combat readiness patrols," according to the ministry.

In China's crosshairs: Taiwan's Matsu Islands

Taiwan has reported several such military exercises over the past month. 

China's power display

China's military tactics come ahead of Taiwan's own annual military drills and at a time when NATO is holding a summit where leaders said China challenges its interests, security and values with its "ambitions and coercive policies."

Later this month, Taiwan is expected to conduct the annual Han Guang exercise wherein its military will hold combat readiness drills to prevent an invasion.

China views democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and in the past three years has amped up military exercises in the region surrounding the island nation. In its efforts to make Taiwan accept Chinese sovereignty, Beijing has regularly sent warplanes into Taiwan's air defense identification zone.

Is Taiwan living on borrowed time?

mf/sms (AP, Reuters)