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Canberra Warned by Taiwan of Beijing’s Military Aggression

The CCP’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has admitted its military drills around Taiwan are designed to test its ability to “seize power” over the island as aggressive manoeuvres near the island enter a second day.

It described its sending of warships and fighter jets into the area around Taiwan and its outlying islands as “a strong punishment for separatist acts of Taiwan independence forces.”

Those “separatist acts” seem to amount to democratically electing its President Lai Ching-te, who’s earned Beijing’s disapproval by championing the island’s sovereignty and distinct identity from the mainland.

In his inauguration speech on May 20, he called on Beijing to cease its intimidation of Taiwan, which has increased under CCP leader Xi Jinping, who has repeatedly made clear his view that the island’s “inevitable reunification” with the mainland cannot be put off indefinitely.

The PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command said it was conducting joint operations involving the army, navy, air force, and rocket force in the Taiwan Strait—a narrow channel separating Taiwan from mainland China—and in the north, south, and east of the island to “test the ability to jointly seize power, launch joint attacks and occupy key areas.”

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry condemned the exercises as “irrational provocations” and dispatched its own sea, air and ground forces in response; although the small nation’s capabilities in both equipment and manpower are dwarfed by those of its much larger neighbour.CCP Engaging in Coercion: Taiwan DiplomatTaipei’s representative in Australia, Douglas Hsu, said the CCP’s actions amounted to coercion and accused Beijing of consistently engaging in dangerous actions toward Australia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Japan.Related StoriesTaiwan Ready to Defend Itself After China Launches ‘Punishment’ Drills5/23/2024Taiwan Ready to Defend Itself After China Launches ‘Punishment’ DrillsLai’s Inauguration: A Great Day for Taiwan and the US5/22/2024Lai’s Inauguration: A Great Day for Taiwan and the US

More recently, a Chinese jet fighter dropped flares about 300 metres in front of, and about 60 metres above, an Australian Seahawk helicopter forcing the pilot to take urgent evasive action.

Mr. Hsu said Taipei expected Beijing to react to President Lai’s inauguration by mounting military drills.

“Honestly, most of the Taiwanese people are used to this kind of coercive actions from [People’s Republic of China] PRC so, so far, people are staying calm,” he said.

“We noticed that there are 31 Chinese navy ships and 49 aircraft involved so far, and so, just like a previous drill PRC had in this region, we will continue to watch the situation closely.”

“This is something all the like-minded countries need to pay more attention (to),” Taiwan’s Mr. Hsu said.

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham echoed Mr Lai’s concerns about the CCP’s intentions.

“This is deliberately dangerous action by China, it is an action that risks miscalculation and risks escalation, and those risks should never be underestimated,” he said.

“China should not be undertaking this type of dangerous and destabilising activity in the first place. We would urge them to show respect for the democratic outcomes in Taiwan.”

Beijing has warned other nations against increasing ties with Taiwan, which it claims is part of China under the One-China principle, to which both Australia and the United States adhere.

Five Australian MPs visited Taiwan during the presidential inauguration, including Labor’s Raff Ciccone and Luke Gosling, as well as the Liberals Claire Chandler, David Fawcett, and Scott Buchholz.

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