China simulates Taiwan blockade on last day of military exercises

Beijing, Apr 10 (EFE).- China concluded its military maneuvers Monday around Taiwan with a blockade simulation on the island using the country’s Shandong aircraft carrier.

China’s Defense Ministry announced the “complete success” of the exercises, which began Friday in retaliation for Wednesday’s meeting in California between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and United States House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The Chinese Army’s Eastern Theater of Operations said it “thoroughly tested under actual combat conditions” these forces, which completed “various combat readiness tasks.”

“The troops are ready to fight at any time,” spokesman Shi Yi said, adding that the forces are “ready to resolutely crush any form of separatism and attempts at foreign interference.”

Monday’s maneuvers focused on simulating a “maritime blockade” of the island: numerous destroyers and frigates carried out patrol missions and combat drills and rehearsed assaulting fleeing hostile ships.

The Chinese military ships acted in the northwest, southwest and east of Taiwan, taking “advantageous positions” through “agile maneuvers” and “pressing the enemy at high speed,” state channel CCTV reported.

In the event of a conflict, the waters east of Taiwan are considered by the island authorities as an evacuation zone, so Chinese actions in those waters “would play an important role” in intercepting ships fleeing the island, a Chinese expert told state newspaper Global Times.

The Shandong, China’s second aircraft carrier – the first nationally manufactured – also participated in the exercises along with at least five other military ships, as the Chinese press had anticipated.

According to analysts quoted by Taiwanese agency CNA, the Shandong’s presence in the exercises is aimed at “verifying that the Chinese forces can launch attacks from various points and blockade the island without having to use missiles.”

“The fact that the Shandong has sailed in eastern Taiwanese waters means that the Chinese military is also seeking to block the potential passage of US ships to support Taiwan,” said expert Lin Yingyou, from Tamkang University.

Some 59 planes and 11 military ships from China made incursions Monday morning in areas around Taiwan, state agency CNA reported.

China said the “independence of Taiwan and peace and stability” in the Strait of Formosa are “incompatible” and that what concerns the island is a “purely internal” matter.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the “biggest threat to peace in Taiwan” is “separatist activities and collusion with foreign forces.”

The spokesman echoed what was said Saturday by the Chinese army, which called the maneuvers as “necessary to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” EFE


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