The government of Taiwan has raised alarm, accusing China of planning to start a war with it.
The claim comes a day after China simulated “joint precision strikes” on Taiwan during military exercises around the island’s waters.
Photos released by Japan Joint Chiefs appear to show the Chinese navy aircraft carrier Shandong launching jets in the Pacific Ocean east of Taiwan during its current round of exercises around the island, in what would be the first time China has simulated strikes by aircraft carrier-based warplanes on Taiwan.
Beijing launched the drills on Saturday, a day after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen returned from a 10-day visit to Central America and the United States where she met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other US lawmakers. The military drills ended on Tuesday.
In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, April 12, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu condemned Beijing’s actions and warned that “they seem to be trying to get ready to launch a war against Taiwan.”
“Look at the military exercises, and also their rhetoric, they seem to be trying to get ready to launch a war against Taiwan,” Wu said.
“The Taiwanese government looks at the Chinese military threat as something that cannot be accepted and we condemn it.”
Asked if Taiwan has any sense of the timing of potential Chinese military action, given US intelligence assessments that Xi has instructed his military to be prepared by 2027, Wu expressed confidence in Taiwanese preparations.
“Chinese leaders will think twice before they decide to use force against Taiwan. And no matter whether it is 2025 or 2027 or even beyond, Taiwan simply needs to get ready,” he said.
Beijing described the drills as “a serious warning against the Taiwan separatist forces’ collusion with external forces, and a necessary move to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Asked if the costs of a visit by Taiwan’s leader to the US were too high, Wu told CNN, “China cannot dictate how Taiwan makes friends. And China cannot dictate how our friends want to show support to Taiwan.”
Beijing conducted similar large-scale military exercises around Taiwan last August, after then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island.
Taiwan and China have been governed separately since the end of a civil war more than seven decades ago, in which the defeated Nationalists fled to Taipei.
However, China’s ruling Communist Party claims the self-governing island as its territory, and in recent years, as his power has grown, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has made clear his ambitions to “reunify” with the island – by force if necessary.