Taiwan has spotted nine warships and 58 Chinese aircraft around the island

China is holding a second day of “total encirclement” drills on Taiwan on Sunday, with maneuvers planned until Monday and issued as a “serious warning” to the island’s authorities after a meeting with a senior US official by Beijing.

DTaiwan spotted nine warships and 58 Chinese aircraft around the island on Sunday, the second day of Chinese military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait.

The ministry said it was monitoring the Chinese military’s movements through a “joint intelligence and surveillance system”, adding that fighter jets and bombers were among the aircraft spotted as of midday local time (0400 GMT).

“Key target” attacks on Taiwan

China has simulated “joint precision strikes” against key targets in and around Taiwan Island as part of its military maneuvers, Taiwan television reported Sunday. Chinese Government CCTV

According to CCTV, dozens of military aircraft were grounded to “fly over target airspace” and ground forces carried out “multi-target precision strike” exercises.

Military exercises

Dubbed the “joint sword”, the move has been strongly condemned by Taiwan and the US has called on Beijing to “rein in” and ensure communication channels with China are kept “open”.

The maneuvers began after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California on Wednesday, to which Beijing vowed to respond with “firm and strong” measures.

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State television said on Saturday that they aimed to establish Chinese capabilities to “control sea, airspace and information (…) to create deterrence and total encirclement” of Taiwan.

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On Sunday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry recalled that nine ships and 71 military aircraft had been spotted around the island the previous day. “The military is closely monitoring the situation” and has asked its “aircraft, ships and land-based missile systems to act accordingly,” he said.

According to Beijing, destroyers, fast-launching missiles, fighter jets, tankers and jammers have been mobilized significantly.

“I’m a little worried, I’d be lying to you if I said otherwise,” Donald Ho, 73, told AFP on Sunday when met in a Taipei park. “If war breaks out, both sides will suffer greatly.”

China considers Taiwan (23 million people) a province that has been unable to reunite with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

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