China announced on Saturday that it will be conducting military drills in the Taiwan Strait for three days. The People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command named the drills "United Sharp Sword" and said that they would run from April 8 to April 10, 2023, aimed at improving combat preparedness.
Taiwan's defense ministry reported detecting 13 Chinese aircraft and three warships in the area. The Chinese drills come after a meeting between United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. China has claimed that the meeting is a provocation and vowed reprisals against Taiwan.
The US administration has maintained that the visit by the Taiwanese President is not provocative and is merely a show of support for the self-governed island. Taiwan is a key point of difference between the US and China, and Beijing claims Taiwan as its own. The relationship between the US and China has been at historic lows, with tensions over Taiwan and trade disputes between the two countries.
The Taiwan Strait is a narrow waterway that separates China and Taiwan, with China claiming sovereignty over the area. Taiwan, on the other hand, sees itself as an independent state and has its own government, military, and economy. Tensions between the two countries have escalated in recent years, with China taking a more aggressive stance towards Taiwan and the US pledging its support for the island nation.
China's military drills in the Taiwan Strait are not uncommon, but they are seen as a show of force and a warning to Taiwan and the US. The US, on its part, has been selling arms to Taiwan and conducting joint military exercises with the island nation to counter China's increasing military presence in the region.
The Chinese drills also come at a time when China has been increasing its military and economic influence in the Asia-Pacific region. The country has been involved in territorial disputes with its neighbors, including Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, and has been expanding its military presence in the South China Sea.
The US has been working to counter China's influence in the region by strengthening its alliances with countries like Japan, South Korea, and Australia. The US has also been working to strengthen its own military presence in the region, with the deployment of troops and warships to the area.