Moment China launches ‘biggest EVER military drills’ encircling WW3 flashpoint Taiwan after ‘declaration of WAR’ speech

1 month ago 9

DOZENS of warplanes filled the skies above Taiwan and an armada stormed towards its shores as China staged unprecedentedly large war drills.

Beijing said the mock invasion of its self-governing island neighbour was a "punishment" for its new president's so-called "declaration of war" speech.

China encircled Taiwan with naval vessels and military aircraft in war games aimed at punishing the self-ruled island today

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China encircled Taiwan with naval vessels and military aircraft in war games aimed at punishing the self-ruled island todayCredit: AFP

Taiwan scrambled jets and ships to counter the threat

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Taiwan scrambled jets and ships to counter the threatCredit: Reuters

Taiwanese jets prepare to take off from an air base in Hsinchu, Taiwan

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Taiwanese jets prepare to take off from an air base in Hsinchu, TaiwanCredit: Reuters

The war drills - some of the largest ever - follow the inauguration of Taiwan's 'separatist' new president

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The war drills - some of the largest ever - follow the inauguration of Taiwan's 'separatist' new presidentCredit: Getty

Early this morning, China encircled Taiwan and other Taipei-controlled islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin as part of the "Joint Sword 2024A" exercises.

Taiwan has condemned the military drills - which are tagged as "A" in an apparent warning of potential follow-ups - as "irrational provocations".

It quickly mobilised its naval, air and ground forces to "defend the island's sovereignty," the defence ministry said.

Joint Force appears to be yet another forceful attempt to intimidate Taiwan, which China views as its own territory, and is scheduled to last for two days.

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China's foreign ministry today called its exercises a "necessary and legitimate move" and demanded the US stop supporting and encouraging "Taiwan independence" forces.

China's military said the drills are focusing on joint sea-air combat-readiness patrols, precision strikes on key targets, and integrated operations inside and outside the island chain to test the "joint real combat capabilities" of the forces.

"This is also a strong punishment for the separatist acts of Taiwan independence forces and a stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces," the command added.

Chinese state media published a map of the drill zones, in five areas all around Taiwan and the islands Taiwan controls near the Chinese coast.

The drills come just three days after Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te took office - a man Beijing detests as a "troublemaker separatist".

Lai's Democratic Progressive party (DPP), which rejects China's territorial claims to the island, secured a third term in January - a win that set Tepei on a greater collision course with Beijing.

How war between China, Taiwan and US could explode over 'one misunderstanding' sparking 'uncontrollable escalation'

China furiously denounced Lai's inauguration speech on Monday, in which he called on China to stop its threats and argued the two sides of the strait were "not subordinate to each other".

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded by calling Lai "disgraceful".

Victor Gao, chair professor at Soochow University in China, declared his speed a "declaration of war" and a "watershed" moment in Taipei-Beijing relations.

He warned: "China wants to show that if Lai still wants to take the path of Taiwan independence... it can make Taiwan collapse without a war within a week or two."

A Taiwanese coastguard spotting a Chinese warship this morning

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A Taiwanese coastguard spotting a Chinese warship this morning

Taiwan slammed China's Joint Sword drills as 'irrational provocations'

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Taiwan slammed China's Joint Sword drills as 'irrational provocations'Credit: Reuters

A Chinese fighter jet pilot takes part in military exercises around Taiwan in April

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A Chinese fighter jet pilot takes part in military exercises around Taiwan in AprilCredit: AP

Analysts have long warned China is plotting to storm across the Taiwan strait and seize the self-ruled island

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Analysts have long warned China is plotting to storm across the Taiwan strait and seize the self-ruled islandCredit: AP

Beijing's forces conduct live-fire drill in Changzhou, Jiangsu province

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Beijing's forces conduct live-fire drill in Changzhou, Jiangsu provinceCredit: Getty

Taiwan's foreign minister warned on Sunday once again that his nation was preparing for war as China was stockpiling weapons for an invasion.

Analysts have long feared Xi Jinping is waiting for the right moment to lurch across the Taiwan strait and submit the small island nation to the will of the People’s Republic.

He promised to take it by force if necessary.

Taiwan insists it is an independent nation after splitting from mainland China amid civil war in 1949.

Su Tzu-yun, a research fellow at Taiwanese think tank, the Institute for National Defence and Security Research, said that drills were far larger than previous exercises.

This time they included Taiwan's outlying islands.

"This is designed to demonstrate China's ability to control the seas and prevent the involvement of foreign forces, he said.

"The political signals here are greater than the military ones."

For years now, the world has watched anxiously as China ramped up its military drills and menacing provocations towards Taiwan and the US responded by increasing commitments to its faraway ally.

China declared earlier this year that they will never give up their claim to the island, while the said it would "never back down" on the issue.

In Xi’s chilling New Year address he stated that Taiwan’s “reunification” with the “motherland” is a “historical inevitability”.

Observers believe Beijing may try to "strangle" the island using a blockade - while others suggest it will launch a large-scale military landing on Taiwan's "red beaches".

In August 2022, China launched live-fire military exercises around Taiwan immediately after a visit by former US House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

That series of exercises, the scale of which was unprecedented, lasted for four days, followed by several days of additional drills.

Taiwan is feared to be a major flashpoint between Washington and Beijing - with a potential invasion forcing the US to abandon the island or face a full-scale war with China that could spiral into World War 3.

How China is waging cyberwar against Taiwan

By Imogen Braddick

Experts have warned China is waging a relentless secret cyber war on Taiwan to pave the way for a full-scale invasion.

Beijing has long used Taiwan as a testing ground for its cyber warfare capabilities - but attacks have been increasing at an unprecedented rate.

According to Taiwanese parliament member Wang Ting-Yu, the island is hit by a whopping 20million cyber attacks every day - and Chinese hackers are responsible for the majority of them.

In a chilling warning in November, former Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said the island was "facing mounting military intimidation, grey-zone campaigns, cyber attacks and information manipulation".

And analysts fear China's escalating cyber warfare is setting the stage for an all-out invasion of Taiwan - which Beijing regards as part of its territory.

Kitsch Yen-Fan, the assistant director for the Global China Hub at the Atlantic Council, warned "we are already at war".

"This is a constant thing," he told 60 Minutes.

"Fake news on social media is a way for [China] to pave the way for their eventual operation.

"They want to basically sway public opinions, demoralise the public, to make their eventual takeover that much easier, which is actually what the Russians were trying to do in Ukraine."

Taiwan insists it is an independent nation after splitting from China in 1949.

Cyber attacks escalated dramatically before the Taiwanese elections in January.

Chinese president Xi Jinping is believed to be taking inspiration from his despicable pal Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine

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Chinese president Xi Jinping is believed to be taking inspiration from his despicable pal Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine

Taiwan has accused China of stockpiling weapons for a full-scale invasion

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Taiwan has accused China of stockpiling weapons for a full-scale invasionCredit: Getty

A Chinese Jin-class nuclear submarine

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A Chinese Jin-class nuclear submarineCredit: AFP
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