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China sends bombers with live missiles on mock strikes in Taiwan drill

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NEW DELHI: The Chinese military on Friday dispatched bombers armed with live missiles for mock strikes as part of its Taiwan drills. The bombers, belonging to the eastern theatre command of the People’s Liberation Army, formed multiple attack formations in waters east of Taiwan and conducted simulated attacks in coordination with naval vessels, Chinese state television CCTV reported.
Meanwhile, Taiwan tracked numerous Chinese warplanes and navy vessels near its coast, coinciding with the second day of a significant exercise conducted by China’s People’s Liberation Army in response to the inauguration of Taiwan’s new leadership.
China has extensively advertised these maneuvers, showcasing Taiwan’s encirclement by forces affiliated with the ruling Communist Party’s military arm, the People’s Liberation Army. A recent video presentation depicted animated Chinese forces closing in from all directions, effectively enclosing Taiwan within a circular target zone.
Despite the situation, there was little evident concern among Taiwan’s 23 million citizens, who have lived under the threat of Chinese invasion since the bitter and bloody civil war in 1949 led to the division between the two sides.
Taiwan’s parliament faced a dispute between political parties over procedural matters on Friday, yet daily activities continued as usual in the bustling capital of Taipei.
According to the defense ministry, 49 warplanes, 19 navy vessels, and Chinese coast guard vessels were tracked. Of these, 35 planes crossed the median of the Taiwan Strait, the de facto boundary between the two sides, within a 24-hour period from Thursday to Friday.
Marine and coast guard vessels, along with air and ground-based missile units, have been placed on high alert, particularly around the Taiwan-controlled islands of Kinmen and Matsu, situated just off the coast of China and distant from Taiwan’s main island by approximately 160 kilometers (100 miles) across the Taiwan Strait.
“Facing external challenges and threats, we will continue to maintain the values of freedom and democracy,” Taiwan’s new President Lai Ching-te told sailors and top security officials on Thursday as he visited a marine base in Taoyuan, just south of the capital, Taipei.
Lai in his inauguration speech on Monday had called on Beijing to stop its military intimidation and said Taiwan was “a sovereign independent nation in which sovereignty lies in the hands of the people”.
China’s military said that its two-day exercises around Taiwan were intended as punishment for separatist factions advocating independence. Almost daily, it dispatches navy ships and warplanes into the Taiwan Strait and other surrounding areas to erode Taiwan’s defenses and attempt to intimidate its populace, who staunchly support the island’s de facto independence.
“As soon as the leader of Taiwan took office, he challenged the one-China principle and blatantly sold the two-state theory’,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Chen Binhua said in a statement on Thursday night.

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