TAIPEI, TAIWAN — The Chinese military conducted a large-scale joint combat offensive exercise from Sunday, sending warplanes and naval vessels. towards TaiwanThe Chinese and Taiwanese defense ministries said.
The exercise coincided with a visit by a group of German lawmakers who arrived in Taiwan Monday morning. The delegation was headed by Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, who leads the Defense Committee in the German parliament.
German lawmakers will meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, as well as the head of Taiwan’s National Security Council and Mainland Affairs Council, which handle issues related to China.
China has stepped up its pressure on the Taiwanese military in recent years by sending warplanes or naval ships almost daily to the self-ruled island. China claims sovereignty over the island, which separated from the mainland in 1949 after a civil war.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said Sunday’s maneuvers continued into Monday, monitoring Chinese warplanes and naval ships on their missile systems.
The ministry said China’s actions “severely disrupted peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and surrounding waters”.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said in a statement Monday morning that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army flew 57 warplanes and four ships toward Taiwan over a 24-hour period from 6 a.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday. Twenty-eight of those planes crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial border that both sides had previously stopped.
China announced the exercise around 11 p.m. on Sunday, saying its “primary aim was to practice ground strikes and naval attacks,” according to a statement from Shi Yi, spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command.
At the end of December, China sent a Record 71 aircraft and 7 ships Towards Taiwan, the largest exercise of this kind in 2022.
Taiwan is scheduled to hold annual two-day military exercises from Wednesday. The drills ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays are aimed at showing off their defensive capabilities.
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