US coordinating closely with Taiwan as China continues military drills

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
4 Min Read

After China launched military exercises in the Taiwan Strait and adjacent regions for two days, the US State Department said it is “very closely monitoring” its efforts in coordination with the island nation and its current military presence in the region. It expressed confidence in the situation and operations to ensure peace and stability, Focus Taiwan reported.

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In an emailed response to CNA, a State Department spokesperson expressed concern over reports of joint military exercises with China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) in and around the Taiwan Strait.

The spokesperson further said that China's actions threaten to escalate tensions and undermine long-standing norms that have maintained regional peace and stability for decades.

The spokesperson said Taiwan's political transition is a normal and regular part of its democratic process and China should not use it as an excuse to take provocative or coercive measures, reports Focus Taiwan.

The spokesperson offered reassurance and said the US remains confident in its current military deployments and actions to ensure peace and stability in the region and to fulfil its national security commitments.

The PLA's Eastern Theater Command on Thursday announced the start of the “Joint Sword-2024A” military exercise in the waters and airspace around Taiwan, just three days after the swearing-in ceremony of newly elected President Lai Ching-te.

The Chinese exercises focused on joint sea-air combat-readiness patrols, joint seizure of comprehensive battlefield control and joint precision strikes on key targets, China-based Xinhua news agency reported.

“The exercise is being conducted in the Taiwan Strait and areas north, south and east of Taiwan Island, as well as in the vicinity of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin islands,” it said.

Meanwhile, earlier on Thursday, President Lai said during a speech at the Marine Corps' 66th Brigade in Taoyuan that faced with external threats, he would continue to pursue defense reforms to defend the values ​​of freedom and democracy and safeguard regional peace and stability, demonstrating to the world Taiwan's determination to defend its democracy.

The same day, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said no live-fire exercises by the PLA had been observed around the Taiwan Strait. As of 6 p.m., 16 PLA warships and 19 China Coast Guard ships were operating in the area.

The MND said it would follow standard procedures for handling emergencies during the armed forces' regular readiness periods, which include deploying naval, air and ground forces to defend Taiwan's independence, democracy and sovereignty.

Jude Blanchett, the Freeman Chair of China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), commented on the issue and said the exercise is designed to increase political pressure on Taiwan and give President Lai “an early test.”

Blanchett further said that as seen during former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, Beijing uses such practices to create a new normal, reports Focus Taiwan.

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