China begins military exercises, what can we expect?

China News Service / China News Service via Getty Ima AT SEA, RUSSIA – OCTOBER 15: The main gun of the Chinese guided-missile destroyer Nanchang attacks a target during the China-Russia ‘Joint Sea-2021’ military drill near Peter the Great Gulf on October 15, 2021 in Russia. (Photo by Sun Zifa/China News Service via Getty Images)

China News Service / China News Service via Getty Ima

A picture of a missile fired from the destroyer Nanchang, in 2021. China conducted military operations on August 4, 2022 near Taiwan after Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.

CHINA – China responds to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. This Thursday, August 4, it will launch targeted military exercises off the coast of Taiwan, which it considers an integral part of its territory. These maneuvers should last until Sunday August 7.

For the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is “to a necessary extent and legitimate to meet the serious provocations of some American politicians and Taiwanese separatists”. Exercises, which reach up to 20 kilometers from the coast of the island, will allow “to firmly defend our national sovereignty and our territorial integrity”, the ministry said. According to him, “The United States are the provocateurs” and no “China, which is the victim”.

Concretely, what do these military maneuvers look like? China’s order announced “Joint naval and air exercises in the north, south-west and south-east seas and airspaces” on the island. Of those “long range live ammunition” planned on the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan from mainland China.

Show of strength from Beijing

“The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will conduct a number of military activities and training, including live-fire exercises in six areas surrounding the island of Taiwan…from Thursday noon to Sunday noon”also detailed the nationalist newspaper GlobalTimes.

You can see these places in the chart below. They are usually on the Taiwanese side of the informal median dividing line between the two countries. Beijing, which does not recognize Taiwan’s independence, does not recognize this line either.

Map of Taiwan and surrounding waters, showing locations of Chinese military exercises scheduled between August 4 and 7
LAURENCE CHU / AFP Map of Taiwan and surrounding waters, showing locations of Chinese military exercises scheduled between August 4 and 7

LAURENCE CHU / AFP

Map of Taiwan and surrounding waters, showing locations of Chinese military exercises scheduled between August 4 and 7

For Marc Julienne, head of China affairs at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri), “This is an unprecedented episode. China is closer to Taiwan than the missile launch during the 1996 crisis”after the island’s first direct presidential election.

A missile in Taiwan?

However, the researcher said, the Chinese “remains unclear on the nature of the exercises”. In addition to previous announcements, Marc Julienne expects “Short-range ballistic missile fire a few kilometers from the coast, to show that they are inside. Another strong step is to fire a DF-17 hypersonic missile,” appeared in the Chinese arsenal in 2019.

Another maneuver is pending but not yet experienced by Beijing: firing a missile from the continent that will fall into the Pacific, east of the island. “The missile will pass through Taiwan, this is unprecedented”, Marc Julienne pointed out. And the researcher worries: Tensions are at their height and they will last. There must be a risk of skidding, of accident, of a calculation error. its consequences can be dramatic.

Taiwan also fears for its security and criticizes the “China’s maneuvers (which) attack the (…) territorial waters” on the island. As a warning, 21 Chinese planes entered the island’s air defense identification zone (wider than airspace) on Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Defense. “In the Face of Deliberately Escalating Military Threats, Taiwan Will Not Back Down”warned Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen.

See also at The Huffpost: Nancy Pelosi arrives in Taiwan despite warnings from China

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