Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

China’s threat ‘never been higher’ as Xi plots Taiwan ‘punishment’ while West distracted

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun4,2024

The Chinese military has surrounded Taiwan, as Beijing’s latest threats spark fear of an imminent invasion of the self-ruled island. The Chinese manoeuvres, which simulate an invasion of the island, are part of China’s surprise two-day military war games. Beijing has said the drills are intended to “punish” Taiwan for its “separatist acts,” just days after the self-ruling island inaugurated a new president.

Former US Admiral Mike Hewitt has warned that the Chinese threat against Taiwan “has never been higher”. He said: “I think they are weighing Western weakness on the world stage as a chance to continue to flex their muscles in the Pacific. The threat level vis a vis Taiwan has never been higher.”

There are concerns that China could invade Taiwan while the West is grappling with the ongoing RussiaUkraine war as well as the Israel war in Gaza. Rishi Sunak‘s election announcement yesterday could also distract UK politicians from any impending invasion.

Tobias Ellwood has warned that China could seek to exploit the US elections this year to “seriously advance their authoritarian agenda”. He said that adversaries like China and Russia would time their next moves for when the West is “deeply distracted”.

The Tory MP, who chaired the Defence Select Committee until 2023, told the Daily Express: “By any measure our world is becoming more dangerous not less as our adversaries seek to exploit the West’s ability to defend our Global Order.

“There is no doubt both China and Russia are aware America will be deeply distracted by its own Presidential elections- offering a huge opportunity to seriously advance their authoritarian agendas knowing a US-led Western response is likely to be muted.”

Taiwan’s military has blasted the surprise drills as “irrational provocations”. Taiwan has since put its sea, air and ground forces on alert and urged Beijing to “act rational”. The island’s air defence and missile forces have been ordered to monitor possible targets.

The drills have almost completely blockaded the island, with exercises happening all around the main island, as well as the Taipei-controlled islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin. Taiwanese media cited military expert Chieh Chung saying the ongoing exercise is aimed at “simulating a full-scale armed invasion of Taiwan”.

Chinese state media have shown dozens of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fighter jets carrying live missiles and firing mock strikes against “high-value military targets”.

The military drills are Beijng’s first response to Monday’s inauguration of Lai Ching-te as Taiwan’s newest president.

A spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Li Xi, said the drills would “serve as a strong punishment for the separatist acts of ‘Taiwan independence’ forces and a stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces”.

Mr Lai and his predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen, are from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive party (DPP), which Beijing considers to be separatist. Beijing has labelled Mr Lai as a “dangerous troublemaker” and the “worst of all leaders”. On Thursday Chinese state broadcaster CCTV wrote that Mr Lai “will certainly be nailed to the pillar of shame in history”.

China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be under Beijing’s control, but the island sees itself as distinct.

There are hints that the two-day military drills are only the start of an escalation from Beijing. Analysts said the name of the exercise, suffixed ‘2024A,’ suggested more drills targeting Taiwan could be expected this year.

Over the past year, China has repeatedly rehearsed encircling Taiwan with fighter jets and navy ships.

Wen-ti Sung, a political analyst and China expert at the Australian National University, said: “This feels like a prelude to more and bigger military drills to come. This is a signal to shape international narratives. The real ‘punishment’ against Taiwan may be yet to come, for it takes time.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “China’s threat ‘never been higher’ as Xi plots Taiwan ‘punishment’ while West distracted”
  1. China’s aggression towards Taiwan is deeply concerning. It seems like they are taking advantage of the current distractions in the West to make bold military moves. The threat level has indeed never been higher, and it’s crucial for the international community to stay vigilant.

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