TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Chinese media reports that the live-fire military exercises taking place off the coast of Zhejiang Province this week, July 17-23, are “tailored for Taiwan separatists.”
The Chinese state backed propaganda blog “Global Times” reported that the drills are designed as a warning to Taiwan Independence forces, while multiple reports have noted that the area of operations for the PLA exercises is roughly equal in size to the area occupied by Taiwan and its outlying islands.
Global Times says that the East China Sea will be the main battled field if war takes place in the future, and quotes a military expert as saying that if the drill zone were to be pushed southward it would cover the entire island of Taiwan.
The announcement of the live-fire drills on Tuesday July 17, came on only days after Xi Jinping reportedly said that he would take a more peaceful approach to China-Taiwan relations, suggesting “four reasons” why he believed the peaceful annexation of Taiwan was possible.
The PLA forces and Chinese media appear to be acting contrary to the statements of Xi Jinping and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office head Liu Jieyi, which might suggest that there is some miscommunication and possibly tensions brewing within the ranks of the Communist Party, which other recent reports have suggested.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense has stated that the exercises are being closely monitored, and that there is no need to panic or give in to threats, stating that the country’s armed forces are capable of responding appropriately should the need arise.
The area of operations for the July 17-23 PLA exercises (CNA Image)