China holds live fire exercise near Taiwan amid rising tensions with US

As the war in Ukraine continues, fresh concerns have been raised about Taiwan after the Chinese People‘s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theatre Command has conducted a “live fire” military exercise in the South China Sea.

State-backed media outlet The People’s Daily reported China had organised “different branches of the forces for joint patrols and live-fire training exercises” in the seas around Taiwan.

PLA spokesman Senior Colonel Shi Yi said the exercise had been intended a warning against the United States.

US Joe Biden had voiced his support for the breakaway republic during a news conference in Tokyo and confirmed that the US would act “militarily” to defend the island in the event of a Chinese attack.

“Taiwan is a part of China, and the PLA Eastern Theatre Command is determined to safeguard national sovereignty and regional peace and stability,” Colonel Shi said on Wednesday.

He added that the joint naval and air combat-readiness exercise by the People’s Liberation Army was a “solemn warning against recent collusion between the United States and Taiwan”.

“It is hypocritical and futile for the United States to say one thing and do another on the Taiwan issue,” Shi added.

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The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue [QSD], an international peacekeeping forum organised by between Australia, India, Japan, and the US as a counterbalance to Chinese territorial claims in the region, warned China against any attempts to invade Taiwan.

A statement from the group said: “We strongly oppose any coercive, provocative or unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo and increase tensions in the area, such as the militarisation of disputed features, the dangerous use of coast guard vessels and maritime militia and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities”.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida added “As Russia ’s invasion of Ukraine is shaking the fundamental principles of the international order… (we) confirmed that unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force will never be tolerated anywhere, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region”.

As the QSD leaders met, reports emerged that a “provocative” formation of Chinese and Russian military planes had flown over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea, reminding observers of the mutual support agreement between the two nations.

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