The World Forum - July 24th, 2024

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What do China's drills around Taiwan tell us?


It's day two of China's military drills in the skies and seas around Taiwan - and the latest exercises show how the People's Liberation Army would surround the island on all sides by ships and aircraft.

It’s hard to tell exactly what is going on, but from what Beijing has made public, the areas covered by these drills are perhaps the biggest we’ve seen yet, and include much of the Taiwan Strait, the Bashi Channel (which separates Taiwan from the Philippines) and large swathes of the Pacific along Taiwan’s east coast.

Thursday's drills focused on encircling the island, simulating a full-scale attack, minus the actual landing of troops, Taiwan military expert Chieh Chung says. He thinks the inclusion of all of Taiwan’s off-shore islands demonstrates China’s plan to eliminate facilities that could launch a counter-attack against the PLA. He also thinks this two-day drill will not be the last Taiwan will have to endure this year – hence the name “Joint Sword 2024-A”.

Today's footage shows the People's Liberation Army (PLA) preparing for a mock strike on Taiwan’s main cities and ports. A dramatic video released by the PLA’s Eastern Command, shows fleets of ships approaching Taiwan, accompanied by the words “Push in!” “Encircle!” “Lock!” . The whole of Taiwan is then highlighted in orange – presumably indicating total control.