In a huge military drill, China encircles Taiwan with warships and fighter jets.

China surrounded Taiwan with warships and fighter jets in a major military exercise.

Image Credit: NewsWeek

Over the weekend, China displayed a show of military strength toward Taiwan by sending warships and fighter jets to surround the island. This was reportedly in response to a meeting between the Taiwanese President and the US House speaker earlier in the week, which China viewed as a provocation.

In retaliation for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-visit wen's to the US, this week and meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Saturday sent out warships and fighter jets to encircle the independent island of Taiwan.

The Taiwanese defense ministry reported that at least eight Chinese warships and 42 fighter jets were spotted in the area of the island on Saturday. In addition, 29 jets entered Taiwan's southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the most this year in a single day, according to information gathered by AFP.

The Chinese Eastern Theater Command (ETC) initiated "Joint Sword" exercises in the Taiwan Strait, which divides mainland China from Taiwan, by conducting "combat alert patrols." This deployment involved the "encirclement" of Taiwan from the north, south, and east with various military assets, including long-range rockets, artillery, destroyers, frigates, missile boats, fighters, bombers, electronic warfare aircraft, aerial tankers, conventional missiles.

This three-day exercise, taking place between April 8 and 10, is anticipated to be the largest military exercise conducted by the PLA since August 2022. During that time, Chinese armed forces had surrounded Taiwan and launched missiles while exploding ordnance in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei.

According to a statement from Shi Yi, a spokesperson for the ETC, the patrol and exercises are taking place in the maritime areas and airspace of the Taiwan Strait, off the northern and southern coasts of Taiwan, and to the island's east. Shi referred to the exercise as a "stern warning" to the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces and their collaboration with foreign forces. Shi emphasized that the exercise is a "necessary move" to protect China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The exercise began on Saturday morning, a day after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen returned to Taiwan after visiting Belize and Guatemala and making a high-profile stopover in the United States, where she met with top US diplomats and politicians.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and opposes official interaction between Taiwan and any other country, considering it an insult and interference in its internal affairs.

The patrols and exercises will effectively blockade and isolate the island of Taiwan, leaving no room for foreign interference forces to enter or for armed forces from the island of Taiwan to flee, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator on the Chinese mainland, told the state-run tabloid Global Times.

According to the newspaper, the eastern Chinese province of Fujian's maritime safety administration issued a navigation warning notice on Friday informing people that a live-fire shooting practice will take place on Monday in an area off the coast of Pingtan, which is only 130 kilometers from Taiwan.

Live-fire shooting drills will also be conducted on Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, April 15, April 17, and April 20, according to a navigation warning notice the administration released on Friday, according to a report. Fuzhou is located around 90 kilometers north of Pingtan.

Earlier this week, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy had already deployed the Shandong Carrier Strike Group (CSG) off the east coast of Taiwan. The group had transited the Bashi Channel on Wednesday in its first training voyage in the Western Pacific.

In response, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council has called for China to exercise "self-restraint." The council stated that the Communist Party of China continues to intimidate Taiwan militarily, undermining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region. Taiwan's government emphasized that it will firmly defend national sovereignty and democratic freedom. It added that Taiwan will neither back down nor act rashly nor will it provoke China.

In August of last year, China published its third white paper on Taiwan since 1993, and the first after President Xi Jinping's ascent to power in 2012. The paper stated that China would not renounce the use of military force to bring the self-governed island under its control. The armed forces concluded the largest exercises around the island at that time.

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