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Chinese Coast Guard ships enter Taiwan’s “forbidden waters”

Taiwan is surrounded by China. Four Chinese coast guard ships entered the “forbidden waters” of two Taiwanese islands on Friday, supported by two other ships nearby, Taipei said on the second day of Beijing’s major military maneuvers around the island.

“This is the eighth time this month that Chinese coast guard vessels have entered prohibited waters,” Taiwan’s coast guard said, adding that the vessels left around 9 a.m. local time (1 a.m. GMT). “We call on China to exercise restraint and immediately stop its irrational behavior,” they said.

On Thursday, Beijing launched military operations around Taiwan involving its army, navy, air force and missile units. The exercises, dubbed “United Sword 2024A”, follow the swearing-in on Monday of Lai Ching-te, whose inaugural speech was hailed by China as “recognizing Taiwan’s independence”.

Their goal is to test “the possibility of seizing power and joint strikes, as well as control over key areas,” Li Xi, a spokesman for the Chinese army’s Eastern Theater Command, said on Friday. Beijing portrayed the military drills on Thursday as “severe punishment” against the island’s “separatists” that would end “bloodyly.”

Military exercises that may last

These operations are conducted “in the Taiwan Strait, north, south and east of the island of Taiwan, and in areas around the islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin,” off China’s east coast, Lee said. – said Xi. They should last until Friday inclusive, but analysts warn that they could be extended or resumed in the near future.

Video released by the Chinese military on Friday showed soldiers running out of the building to their battle posts as fighter jets took off to the sound of military music. An animated Chinese military graphic on state television CCTV showed missiles falling on key targets in the north, south and east of the island, with a message that it would help “cut the blood vessels of Taiwanese independence.”

videoTensions in Taiwan: Island surrounded by Chinese military exercises

Taiwan “will defend the values ​​of freedom and democracy,” pledged Thursday by Lai Ching-te, whom Beijing has called a “dangerous separatist” for his past statements in favor of the island’s independence, even if he has since softened his stance. speech. “I will stand on the front lines with our brothers and sisters in the military to defend national security together,” he assured.

During his oath of office on Monday, Lai Jing-te called on China to “stop political and military intimidation.” Taiwanese separatists “will be exposed to the shame of history,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded the next day.

UN calls for restraint

The UN called on all sides to “refrain from any actions that could escalate tensions,” and in Washington, a senior official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the United States was “monitoring the situation very closely” and called on China to “exercise restraint.”

China considers Taiwan to be one of its provinces that it has so far failed to reunite with its territory since the end of the civil war and the communist takeover in 1949. For several years, Beijing has been increasing its threats and political, economic and military pressure on Taiwan. She says she favors a “peaceful” reunification with the island territory of 23 million people, but does not rule out the use of force.

The previous large-scale Chinese military exercise around Taiwan took place in August 2023 following a visit by then-Vice President Lai Ching-te to the United States, Taiwan’s historical ally. Beijing also began maneuvers of historic proportions in August 2022 following a visit to the island by then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Source: Le Parisien

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