The Chinese regime considers Taiwan a part of its territory, despite the island being a de-facto nation state with its own democratically-elected government, military, and currency. Beijing has threatened to use military force to bring the island under its fold.
In recent weeks, those threats were amplified.
China announced that it was conducting five simultaneous military drills in four seas on Sept. 28, while state-run broadcaster CCTV reported that the army practiced street fighting on Sept. 25 in Fujian Province, which is located directly across the Taiwan Strait.
Meanwhile, Chinese warplanes have continually entered Taiwan airspace.
The United States indirectly suggested that it would support Taiwan in a conflict. On Sept. 24, the Air Force Magazine reported that its workhorse drone MQ-9 Reapers, “with an eye on China,” were training for a maritime conflict, including shooting non-stealth aircraft down or jamming their transmissions.
In an accompanying photo, air force members participating in the drone exercise could be seen wearing an armband that features a red-colored map of China.
Though the atmosphere in the Taiwan Strait is tense, commentators said the Chinese military is flexing its muscle but unlikely to provoke a real conflict.
On Sept. 24, state-run media PLA (Peoples Liberation Army, official name of Chinese military) Daily released a video showing the militarys Eastern Theater Command firing 10 DF-11A short-range ballistic missiles at a targeted airport. In the footage, an aircraft runway goes up in flames.
The Eastern Theater Command is the primary unit that targets Taiwan. The DF-11A short-range ballistic missile has a range of 600 kilometers (373 miles), with a 500 kg (1,100 pounds) payload.
The PLA Daily didnt disclose when or where the command performed the exercise.
But during a Sept. 24 press conference commenting generally on the PLAs past live-fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait, Chinas national defense ministry spokesman Tan Kefei said they were targeted at “the very small number of Taiwan independence separatists and their separatist activities.”
The Chinese regime frequently portrays those who affirm Taiwans sovereignty, such as Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen and her Progressive Democratic Party, as separatists. Tsai has maintained that the island is already an independent state called the Republic of China, its official name.
Tan also confirmed at the press conference that the military just completed battle training for its two aircraft carriers, the Shandong and Liaoning.
Chinese state-run media Haixia Daobao reported on Sept. 12 that the two carriers were conducting group exercises in the Bohai Sea, with the purpose of showing its muscle to Taiwan and the United States—Taiwans chief arms supplier.
Meanwhile, Chinese state-run CCTV reported on Sept. 16 that the PLA performed military drills on an unspecified date with warships, such as guided-missile frigates, to find and attack air invaders.
CCTV also stated that PLA recently performed exercises in Fujian Province, including with helicopters that simulated dispatching eight soldiers to enemy-controlled land at the same time, warplanes cooperating with soldiers on land, and so on.
The Western Theater Command also performed exercises simulating the army fighting with enemies on land.