In an interview with Caritas radio, the Paraguayan Ambassador Carlos Fleitas confirmed that from Saturday until today, China has carried out military exercises with live fire in the vicinity of Taiwan.
He explained that such Chinese activity does not affect normal activity on the island of Taiwan. “The Taiwanese people are one that is already used to it, they are a firm people. The People’s Republic of China is dictatorial and the Republic of China (Taiwan) is democratic“he added.
“China is violating international law and the letter of the United Nations”, said the compatriot diplomat categorically.
China launched three days of military exercises around Taiwan on Saturday to pressure its authorities in response to a meeting between the island’s president and a senior US official that angered Beijing.
These are some of the elements that are known from the operation called “Joint Sword”.
– What is the device? –
China made a large military deployment around Taiwan as “a serious warning against collusion between separatist forces seeking ‘Taiwan independence’ and outside forces,” warned a Chinese military spokesman, Shi Yi.
Maneuvers include patrols and “precision strike simulations” against “key targets” to “create a deterrence and a total encirclement” of the island, according to Chinese state television CCTV.
The device includes dozens of J-18 and J-10C fighter jets, anti-submarine aircraft, PHL-191 rocket launcher systems and YJ-12B anti-ship land-based missiles, according to the Chinese press.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry spotted 11 Chinese warships and 70 aircraft around the island on Sunday, after sighting as many ships and 71 aircraft the day before.
– What is China looking for? –
China considers the island of Taiwan, with a population of 23 million, as one of its provinces. which has not yet managed to reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
Beijing opposes any official contact between Taipei and foreign governments.
Following a meeting in California on Wednesday between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Beijing vowed to hit back harshly.
These military maneuvers are part of a broader campaign of “pressure against Taiwan,” Ja Ian Chong, a professor of political science at the National University of Singapore, told AFP.
In his opinion, “these high-level meetings allow Beijing to blame Taipei, Washington, or others.”
– Because right now? –
China waited for Tsai’s return to Taiwan and the end of the Chinese visit by French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to launch the “Joint Sword” operation.
For James Char, an expert on the Chinese military at Nanyang University of Technology in Singapore, this shows that China is trying to “reactivate” relations with Europe.
But a military operation against Taiwan “will be detrimental to this diplomatic opening,” he warns.
– What differences are there with previous maneuvers? –
These exercises are reminiscent of those that took place in August 2022 in response to the visit to the island of Nancy Pelosi, McCarthy’s predecessor at the head of the House of Representatives, the second US authority in the line of presidential succession.
Beijing carried out live-fire maneuvers ten kilometers off the Taiwanese coast in a similar week-long campaign to encircle the island.
This time, China announced live-firing exercises off the coast of Fujian (east), the province facing Taiwan.
However, “Joint Sword” seems to “do not have the same magnitude as what we saw during Pelosi’s visit” to the island – considered by Beijing as its own territory -, estimates Manoj Kewalramani, an expert on China at the Takshashila Institution of Bangalore.
The economic situation after three years of Covid-19 and Taiwan’s strategic importance may also have played a role, according to Su Tzu-yun, a military expert with Taiwan’s National Defense and Security Research Institute.
“The restoration of Taiwan’s air and sea lanes this year is very important for the economic recovery of neighboring countries and China itself, so military exercises should not be intensified,” he told AFP.
With information from AFP.