The Chinese military announced on May 25 that it would organize military drills in the sea and air spaces near Taiwan, a move it described as a “warning” to Washington.
Col. Shi Yi, spokesperson for the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army, said the regime’s military conducted “multi-service joint combat readiness patrols” and “actual combat drills” near Taiwan, according to a May 25 statement.
The statement didn’t specify whether such a drill had already taken place or was to come, but it described the move as a “solemn warning” to Washington over its “collusion” with Taiwan.
The regime views the self-ruled island as its own territory to be taken by force if necessary.
The announcement comes a day after the Chinese regime and Russia conducted joint military drills over the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea, and the western Pacific. The exercise marked the two countries’ first joint drills since the Ukraine war, which has raised concerns that the Chinese regime could use the crisis to hasten its designs to seize Taiwan.
Beijing has stepped up its military harassment of Taipei in recent years by continuing to send warplanes flying near the island on a regular basis. On May 25, four Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) May 25, 2022
During his first trip to Asia, U.S. President Joe Biden said the United States had a “commitment” to defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion by the Chinese regime. The White House later walked back the controversial comments, saying that they didn’t indicate a shift in U.S. policy on Taiwan.
The United States has a longstanding policy toward Taiwan, known as “strategic ambiguity,” meaning that U.S. administrations have been deliberately vague on whether the United States would defend the island in the event of a Chinese invasion.
Washington maintains robust relations with Taiwan, and a federal law obliges the U.S. administration to provide Taipei with the means to defend itself.
Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said on May 26 that the Chinese Communist Party has “almost never stopped” its harassment of Taiwan in recent years, noting that the ministry will continue to monitor its exercises.
Chiu said Taiwan must be prepared to defend itself and can’t entirely depend on other countries’ help. In response to the regime’s saber-rattling, the island has increased military spending to a record level this year and has proposed to extend the island’s four-month compulsory military service to a year.