TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Despite the bluster and bravado, China's live fire exercises set to take place in the Taiwan Strait, are actually situated in a small area right off the coast of Fujian Province.
China's Ministry of National Defense announced yesterday (April 12) that it will be holding a live fire drill in the Taiwan Strait, setting off alarms in Taiwan and many Western countries. The mover appeared to mark an escalation of President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) aggressive stance against Taiwan Independence and on disputes in the South China Sea.
The English version of the announcement reads as follows:
"FJ0011 TAIWAN STRAIT MILITARY EXERCISES IN AREA BOUNDED BY THE LINES JOINING 24-51.4N/118-50.0E、24-50.3N/118-51.3E、24-49.5N/118-50.4E、24-50.6N/118-49.2E FROM 180000UTC TO 181600UTC APR. ENTERING PROHIBITED."
Though there were fears that this would signal a live fire exercise close to Taiwan, similar to 1996 when missiles fired from China near Keelung and Kaohsiung in an attempt to intimidate Taiwanese voters, this test is staying much closer to China. In fact, as can be seen in the photo below, it is taking place on the outer edge of Quanzhou Bay.
(Weibo image from 新浪军事)
Ever since Democratic Progressive Party leader Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was sworn in as president in May 2016, China has been taking a more aggressive stance on Taiwan issues, dropping direct talks and sending military aircraft and vessels close by the island.
Despite the Chinese show of force in 1996, the Taiwanese people still re-elected President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).
Google Map showing Quanzhou and Quanzhou Bay.