China’s armed forces allegedly declared on Monday that they are “ready to fight” after finishing three days of extensive war drills surrounding Taiwan that replicated isolating the island.
Earlier, the Chinese military claimed that the Joint Sword “combat readiness patrols” were actually a warning to Taiwan, which China claims as its own.
In response to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s delicate mission to strengthen the island’s fraying diplomatic ties in Central America and increase its U.S. support, the drills have been conducted. Tsai visited the US. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met with President Xi last week in California; China had previously warned that there would be unspecified consequences.
In the midst of the drills near Taiwan, the US Navy is apparently threatening Beijing by sending a destroyer vessel across the South China Sea.
— New York Post (@nypost) April 11, 2023
A spokesperson for the Chinese PLA [People’s Liberation Army] Southern Theater Command denounced the US 7th Fleet in a written statement on Monday after it claimed that its missile destroyer USS Milius passed over Mischief Reef as part of a “freedom of navigation” mission. To assert its claim to the disputed territory, China has created an artificial island on the sea feature.
Senior Colonel Tian Junli of the Chinese Air Force remarked, “China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters. The troops of the PLA Southern Theater Command will always stay on high alert and resolutely safeguard China’s national sovereignty and security, as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea.”
Tsai also had a meeting with a US congressional delegation over the weekend in Taiwan after she had returned. The Chinese exercises resembled those that were carried out in August of last year, when Beijing launched missile strikes on targets in the waters surrounding Taiwan as reprisal for a visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker at the time.