China holds large-scale joint strike drills aimed at Taiwan

China holds large-scale joint strike drills aimed at Taiwan

The defense ministries in China and Taiwan both confirmed that the Chinese military began large-scale combined combat strike drills on Sunday, dispatching fighter jets and naval ships in the direction of Taiwan.

The exercises coincided with the visit of a group of German lawmakers who landed in Taiwan on Monday morning. The head of the German Parliament’s Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, is in charge of the delegation.

The German lawmakers will meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, as well as Taiwan’s National Security Council head and the Mainland Affairs Council, which handles issues related to China.

In recent years, China has increased the pressure it exerts on Taiwan’s military by sending airplanes or navy ships there virtually on a regular basis. China claims sovereignty over the island, which split from the mainland in 1949 after a civil war.

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Sunday’s exercises have continued into Monday, Taiwan’s defense ministry said, monitoring Chinese warplanes and navy vessels on its missile systems.

China’s actions “have severely disrupted the peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and surrounding waters,” the ministry said.

Over the course of 24 hours between 6 a.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday morning, China’s People’s Liberation Army flew 57 warplanes and four ships toward Taiwan. Twenty-eight of those planes crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

China announced the drills around 11 p.m. Sunday, saying their primary target was to practice land-strikes and sea assaults.

Meanwhile, Taiwan will hold its annual two-day military drills starting Wednesday. The exercise ahead of Lunar New Year holidays is aimed at showcasing its defense capabilities.

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