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    December 24, 2016 shows the Liaoning, China's only aircraft carrier, sailing during military drills in the Pacific

    Beijing's Military Drills Warning to Washington Over Taiwan - Military Analyst

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    On July 18, China began a five-day military exercise in the East China Sea. A day before, Taiwan's defense department reported that 15 US-made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters have been put into service. Military experts told Sputnik that the Chinese drills are a demonstration of military power and a signal to Washington to stop supporting Taiwan.

    Military analyst Vladimir Evseev believes that the drills demonstrate the growing potential of China at sea. He drew attention to the development of combat firing, which is not always included in the exercise program, and he believes China is sending a signal to Washington:

    “Apparently, China, by staging these drills is saying that it's time to discuss the problems that worry Beijing. Here, I think, it's about the territories disputed with Japan, about Taiwan. The exercises are a kind of an invitation to the US to start a dialogue, so that they do not forget that there are problems that China wants to negotiate and considers necessary to solve solely at the negotiating table.”

    READ MORE: China Sends Strategic Bombers for International Drills in Russia — Reports

    Evseev also pointed out that the exercises have been held immediately after the Russian-American summit in Helsinki. 

    “China believes that Trump, having begun a dialogue with Russia, should not forget about the continuation of the dialogue with China on the settlement of a number of important problems that directly concern the US and its Asian allies. After the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Helsinki, China most likely believes that it would be worthwhile to hold such a meeting to discuss the problems that exist in the Asia-Pacific region, or rather in the Indo-Pacific region,” Evseev notes.

    A Chinese military analyst drew attention to the fact that the area designated for Chinese military exercises is similar in size to the island of Taiwan. Military commentator Song Zhongping told Chinese newspaper The Global Times, that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) frequently conducts island encirclement exercises and that the main goal of these drills is to send a serious warning to Taiwan separatists.

    An expert from the Center for Taiwan Studies at Xiamen University, Chen Xiaoxiao, told Sputnik that the US has recently stepped up its activities in relation to Taiwan:

    “There were sensational reports about US plans to deploy marines to protect the building of the American Institute in Taiwan (an organization that is responsible for maintaining informal bilateral relations, in fact, is Washington’s de facto mission to Taiwan). And on July 7, two American destroyers passed through the Taiwan Strait. Such actions undoubtedly complicate China-US relations, which are already overshadowed by the existing trade and economic tensions. They create problems for ensuring China's national security. Therefore, the Chinese must prevent this US activity.

    Chen Xiaoxiao also noted that it is obvious that the United States is playing the Taiwan card, which coincides with the island's strategy for independence:

    READ MORE: ‘Psychological Game’: Chinese Media Blast US Navy Movement Through Taiwan Strait

    “In Taiwan, there are some politicians who are ready to join the US game. In fact, they want the US to intervene in the affairs of both mainland China and Taiwan, while they themselves sit it out on the sidelines, waiting for their own profit. The authorities of the island in relations with mainland China have as of recently been consistently choosing the path of confrontation, not cooperation, trying to persuade the US to support 'Taiwan independence.' This will not be tolerated by the Chinese government, and will inevitably lead mainland China to apply tough measures and strict sanctions against Taiwan. The military exercises in the East China Sea, which were held there before, are only a prelude. In the future, China will introduce even more stringent restrictive measures against the forces advocating Taiwan's independence.”

    At the same time, last Friday, Xi Jinping, Chairman of the People's Republic of China, held a meeting with the former chairman of Taiwan's Kuomintang party Lien Chan in Beijing. The Chinese leader assured that China has “the confidence and ability to keep a firm  hold on the correct direction, work for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, and advance the process toward the peaceful reunification of China”. Experts noted that the tone of this statement was softer than some of the voices on the mainland in response to the intensification of US activity around Taiwan in recent months.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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