Straits drills ‘a warn­ing to US’

‘Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate main­land’s strength over Tai­wan’

Global Times US Edition - - TOPNEWS - By Liu Caiyu

Live-fire mil­i­tary drills sched­uled in the Tai­wan Straits on Wed­nes­day will serve as a strong de­ter­rence to “Tai­wan in­de­pen­dence” forces as well as a warn­ing to the US and Japan not to in­ter­vene in China’s in­ter­nal af­fairs, an­a­lysts said.

No ves­sels are al­lowed in the wa­ters when the drills take place from 8:00 am un­til mid­night on Wed­nes­day, the Fu­jian Mar­itime Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced on its web­site.

The drills come fol­low­ing the coun­try’s largest-ever mar­itime mil­i­tary pa­rade in the South China Sea on Thurs­day.

It is a warn­ing to the US and Japan who try to in­ter­vene and thwart China in deal­ing with the Tai­wan ques­tion. China’s mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­ity and con­fi­dence over the Tai­wan ques­tion can­not be un­der­es­ti­mated, said Song Zhong­ping, a mil­i­tary ex­pert and TV com­men­ta­tor.

The drills will mainly be par­tic­i­pated by the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (PLA) Navy. The mis­sion will likely fo­cus on am­phibi­ous at­tacks, con­trol­ling the skies and com­mand of the sea, as well as pre­ci­sion strikes on key tar­gets, Song said.

The drills in the Tai­wan Straits are ex­pected to be larger than be­fore, as the US and proin­de­pen­dence forces in Tai­wan show no re­straint and have been get­ting closer af­ter Tsai Ing-wen as­sumed of­fice, Song added.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump signed the Tai­wan Travel Act in March, which al­lows US of­fi­cials at all lev­els to travel to Tai­wan.

Tsai left for Swazi­land on Tues­day, a day be­fore the mil­i­tary drills in the Tai­wan Straits, Reuters re­ported.

Tsai won’t stay at home and wait to be warned by the mil­i­tary drills, Yang Lix­ian, vice sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Na­tional So­ci­ety of Tai­wan Stud­ies, told the Global Times.

“Since Tsai at­taches great im­por­tance to its ‘diplo­matic ties,’ the num­ber of which is de­clin­ing, she won’t risk los­ing any of them,” Yang ex­plained.

The drills are di­rectly tar­geted at “Tai­wan in­de­pen­dence.” But it’s not a turn­ing point of the main­land’s pol­icy to­ward the is­land, Yang said. “China in­sists on work­ing on the Tai­wan ques­tion along both lines. The main­land re­acts tough to Tai­wan sep­a­ratist forces, but for the Tai­wan peo­ple, the main­land treats them like fam­ily mem­bers by of­fer­ing pref­er­en­tial poli­cies.”

Tsai presided over mil­i­tary drills of the is­land’s navy on Fri­day, which marks the first time since she took of­fice in 2016, Reuters re­ported.

“No mat­ter how Tai­wan’s mil­i­tary re­acts, it would be in vain. The is­land’s de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties are far lower than that of the main­land. When Tai­wan tries to ‘pre­serve it­self’ by throw­ing it into the arms of the US, it is more likely to be dis­carded,” Song added.

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