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Taiwan warns China drills show ambitions beyond island

Taiwan's military conducts artillery live-fire drills at Fangshan township in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022 (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)
Taiwan's military conducts artillery live-fire drills at Fangshan township in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022 (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

Taiwan warns that Chinese military drills aren’t just a rehearsal for an invasion of the self-governing island but also reflect ambitions to control large swaths of the western Pacific, as Taipei conducts its own exercises to underscore it’s ready to defend itself.

Angered by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan, China has sent military ships and planes across the midline that separates the two sides in the Taiwan Strait and launched missiles into waters surrounding the island. The drills, which began Thursday, have disrupted flights and shipping in one of the busiest zones for global trade.

Ignoring calls to calm tensions, Beijing instead extended the exercises without announcing when they will end.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu says that beyond aiming to annex the island democracy, which split with the mainland amid civil war in 1949, China wants to establish its dominance in the western Pacific. That would include controlling the East and South China Seas via the Taiwan Strait and imposing a blockade to prevent the US and its allies from aiding Taiwan in the event of an attack, he told a news conference in Taipei.

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