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The move by Beijing was an explicit affirmation of their desire to take the island nation by force. China’s state-run tabloid the Global Times announced: “The PLA drills this time are not a warning, but a rehearsal for a Taiwan takeover.” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen accused China of purposefully ratcheting up the tension by making repeated incursions into its airspace.
China’s aircraft consisted of their latest sophisticated fighters plus older Soviet-era bombers, similar to the Russian ‘Bear’ strategic bomber.
The Global Times described the aircraft that flew on Friday as consisting of, “two H-6 bombers, eight J-16 fighters, four J-10 fighters, and four J-11 fighters”.
On Saturday the media outlet listed the following aircraft that flew, saying they consisted of, “12 J-16 fighters, two J-10 fighters, two J-11 fighters, two H-6 bombers, and one Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft”.
The Global Times claimed the Chinese bombers would “prove devastating to the island’s naval force”.
They added: “The Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft could clear the Straits of submarines and, together with PLA minesweeping vessels, it could pave paths for the PLA landing forces.”
The move by China is unprecedented in the modern era and sends signals president Xi Jinping is serious about his desire to take Taiwan within his own lifetime.
Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, speaking to reporters on Sunday, said: “What we are seeing now is not just a situation across the Taiwan Strait, but a regional situation.
“China’s recent military activities, especially in the past few days, clearly constitute a threat of force, which is part of their verbal attacks and military threats against Taiwan.”
Tensions between the two powers have heightened after United States undersecretary of state for economic, energy, and environmental affairs Keith Krach visited Taipei, causing outrage from the Chinese.
China declared it would take “legitimate countermeasures, including targeting individuals” after Mr Krach visited Taiwan, saying the move had violated the “one-China principle”.
China’s foreign ministry demanded the US “immediately stop” official exchanges with Taiwan.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin called Washington’s move a “political provocation against China” and one that encouraged “Taiwan secessionists”.
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Wang said: “We urge the US to correct its mistakes.
“The US must stop all official and military contacts with Taiwan, and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.
“They must stop words and deeds that undermine China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.”
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