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China conducts naval exercise in East China Sea

Military analyst says drill is countermeasure to progressing US-Taiwan relations

Chinese Navy sailing in South China Sea.

Chinese Navy sailing in South China Sea. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The China Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) on Saturday (July 17) said that the People’s Liberation Army Navy will begin conducting a six-day drill that will last until July 21.

The MSA issued a warning Saturday morning saying the live-fire exercise will be held in the East China Sea, off the coast of Zhejiang Province, and that all ships are prohibited from approaching. The sequestered training area is only 243 kilometers away from Taiwan, Liberty Times reported.

The administration announced another warning Saturday afternoon, saying that a military drill will also be held in Taizhou, Zhejiang from July 18 to August 3. Ships are not allowed to enter the designated training zone, it said.

Chen Wen-chia (陳文甲), an associate professor at National Chengchi University’s College of International Affairs, said that this sudden military exercise is meant to counter the progression of U.S.-Taiwan relations. More specifically, it is retribution for the brief stop of a U.S. military aircraft at Taipei’s Songshan Airport on July 15. Although the U.S. plane did not stay for long, it was the second instance in a short period of time.

On June 6, three U.S. senators arrived in Taipei aboard a C-17 military transport plane for a whirlwind visit, during which they announced the donation of 750,000 vaccine doses.