The Chinese army fired Thursday, August 4 from “multiple” ballistic missiles in waters surrounding Taiwan, shortly after the start of major military exercises around the island, the Taipei Defense Ministry said. These maneuvers, which began on the night of Wednesday to Thursday, began with the overflight by a drone of the Taiwanese island of Kinmen, located 10 kilometers from the Chinese coast. Taiwanese military forces fired a flare to scare away the drone, without specifying what type of device it was or where it came from. It is the first time that a military plane has flown over this area since the first Sino-Taiwanese crisis in the 1950s.
Several Chinese fighter jets also crossed the “median line” between mainland China and Taiwan overnight from Wednesday to Thursday. This is how the Chinese army launched Thursday August 4 the most important military maneuvers in its history around Taiwan, a muscular response to the visit Tuesday August 2 of the leader of the American deputies, Nancy Pelosi, on the island. The Taipei Ministry of Defense condemned “irrational actions that undermine regional peace”.
Military exercises all around the island of Taiwan
According to the Communist Chinese newspaper GlobalTimeswhich quotes military analysts, the exercises are of a magnitude ” unprecedented “. “This is the first time that the Chinese military will launch live ammunition and long-range artillery fire over the Taiwan Strait”, underlines the daily, known for its nationalist tone. These drills will take place in a range of areas encircling Taiwan – sometimes just 20 kilometers from the Taiwanese coast – and are scheduled to end on Monday August 8.
“The specter of a military confrontation is approaching” does not hesitate to write the famous sinologist Minxin Pei in a column published Thursday, August 4 in the daily JapanTimes in Tokyo. Recalling immediately that even if “Had Nancy Pelosi not been to Taiwan, the bellicose Chinese maneuvers against Taiwan would have escalated to the point of causing a new crisis in the Taiwan Strait anyway”. And the Taiwanese were prepared for it. “We expected this type of Chinese military maneuvers, confides a former Taiwanese diplomat based in Europe, China never lets anything pass if it feels its sovereignty is being attacked. For leader Xi Jinping, recovering Taiwan is a historic duty. »
For Taiwan, “preparing for war without making war”
The armed forces of Taiwan also affirmed on Thursday “to prepare for war without seeking war”when China announces that it wants to fire its first missiles in the Strait. “Some of China’s maneuver areas encroach on (…) Taiwan’s territorial waters”said Sun Li-fang, the spokesperson for the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense, lambasting “an irrational act aimed at challenging the international order”. On the Chinese side, the warnings are multiplying. “If the Taiwanese forces voluntarily come into contact with (the Chinese army) and accidentally fire a shot, (the Chinese army) will respond vigorously and it will be up to the Taiwanese side to bear all the consequences”an anonymous military source in the Chinese army told Agence France-Presse.
However, these maneuvers, as impressive as they may be, are not intended to launch a military invasion of Taiwan. “China mainly wants to control the escalation to show its displeasure, confided a few days ago a former Asian military attaché stationed in Beijing, Above all, it does not want a military conflict three months before the party congress in the fall and above all it does not yet have the military means to invade Taiwan. » She will only be able to start if she is sure of winning. The Russian example in Ukraine makes Chinese military strategists think more than ever. This suggests that these maneuvers will not last beyond August 8, announced by Beijing. If no slippage comes to shake up this scenario.