‘Routine’: China Blockades Taiwan With Renewed Military Drills

China announced new military drills in waters to the southwest of Taiwan after the original exercises were scheduled to wrap up Sunday, as China seeks to cut Taiwan off from maritime trade and security assistance.

China launched its largest-ever military exercises from Aug. 4 to Aug. 7 in six areas surrounding Taiwan in retaliation for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit, a move China called “provocative” and said violated China’s sovereignty. China intends the renewed drills to form a “blockade” of the island and demonstrate China’s increasing control over it, state-run media outlet Global Times claimed Monday.

“As long as the Taiwan question is not solved, drills like these will not stop,” Chinese mainland military expert Song Zhongping told the Global Times.

Ongoing drills will “lock” in Taiwan from outside assistance indefinitely, the Global Times reported, citing analysts, and are expected to become “routine.”

China’s defense ministry did not announce special restriction zones, areas where normal sea and air traffic are prohibited, for the additional drills, according to the Global Times. Whether the exercises will involve live fire remains unclear as well.

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Although airspace around the island reopened as the Chinese Eastern Theater Command relocated troops, Reuters reported, the exercises could continue to drive business away from Taiwan and hamstring global shipping, as nearly half of the world’s shipping containers pass through the Taiwan Strait. Analysts previously expected navigation around Taiwan to return to normal after the end of the original drills, as any disruption in shipping traffic will also damage Chinese trading, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“In the face of military intimidation created by China, Taiwan will not be afraid nor back down, and will more firmly defend its sovereignty, national security, and free and democratic way of life,” Taiwan’s foreign ministry told Reuters.

The U.S. has a naval carrier strike group deployed in nearby waters to “monitor the situation” and will conduct routine transits through the Taiwan Strait sometime in the coming weeks.

U.S. President Joe Biden said he did not expect the drills to presage an official military operation against Taiwan while traveling to Kentucky on Monday, Voice of America reported. I’m not worried, but I’m concerned that they’re moving as much as they are,” he said. 

China claims a historical right over Taiwan. While the U.S. has affirmed a One China policy, acknowledging Taiwan as a part of broader China and rejecting Taiwanese independence, it maintains a separate relationship with the self-governing island.

Aerial and naval exercises serve as to prepare the Chinese military for future reunification with Taiwan and draw attention to China’s case that “reunification is a must,” according to the Global Times.

The Chinese and Taiwanese foreign ministries did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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