The Chinese military has kicked off “major” exercises in the Yellow Sea ahead of Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen’s planned departure Sunday for Paraguay, the only Taiwanese ally in South America, and the tiny Central American country of Belize.
China’s Defense Ministry, citing a notice from the China Maritime Safety Administration, said that all boats and ships were banned from entering restricted zones off the northeastern city of Rizhao to the southeastern city of Qingdao, both in Shandong, for safety reasons. Qingdao is a major naval and commercial port, and home to the Chinese navy’s North Sea Fleet, Japan Times News reports.
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has scheduled live-fire war games in the Taiwan Strait for next Wednesday. That follows Beijing’s heated objections to U.S. moves to strengthen relations with Taiwan’s democratic, independence-leaning government.
Despite a lack of formal ties, Washington is legally bound to respond to threats to Taiwan and is the island’s main supplier of foreign military hardware.
Chinese officials have denounced the recent passage of a U.S. law encouraging more high-level government contacts with Taiwan, saying that violates U.S. commitments not to restore formal exchanges severed when Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.
“The mission of building a mighty people’s navy has never been more urgent than it is today, Strive to make the people’s navy a first-rate world navy.” ~ China’s Xi Jinping
China has bolstered its military presence near Taiwan, sailing its sole operating aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait in January and March and holding large-scale “encirclement” exercises nearby in recent months.
The bottom line is China has said Taiwan belongs to them and they will politically take it back, while the United States backs Taiwan and is sending a message to China to back off.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.