CHINESE state TV has shown a chilling video of a simulated full scale attack on Taiwan as Beijing’s forces practised sealing off the island.
The war games saw Beijing simulate targeted strikes on Taiwan and encirclement of the island, including “sealing” it off, while dozens of planes had practised an “aerial blockade”.
Video released by Chinese state TV on its news programme shows warships and planes circling Taiwan.
It then goes on to show an animated sequence showing missiles raining down on Taiwan.
The simulated attack on the island also has missiles being fired from planes and shows them causing large explosions as they smash to earth.
Other video shows missiles on the mainland being readied for launching in a chilling warning to the island.
China’s latest military actions follow President Tsai Ing-wen’s delicate diplomatic mission in which she met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.
“The troops in the theatre are ready to fight all the time and can fight at any time, resolutely crushing any form of Taiwan independence separatism and foreign interference,” said China’s People’s Liberation in a statement.
The exercises this time have focused more on air strength, with Taiwan reporting 200 flights by Chinese warplanes in the past three days.
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Analysts said it was likely some of the jets had come from China’s Shandong aircraft carrier – one of two it possesses – which is currently deployed about 200 miles from Taiwan.
Taiwan has tracked the Shandong since last week in the Pacific Ocean.
It has repeatedly said it will respond calmly to China’s drills and not provoke conflict.
The PLA confirmed on Monday in a statement that the Shandong had “participated” in Monday’s exercises.
It said fighter planes loaded with live ammunition had “carried out multiple waves of simulated strikes on important targets”.
Why is Taiwan a flashpoint between the US and China?
The dispute over Taiwan stems back to the Chinese civil war, which ended in 1949 with the victory of the Communist Party Mao Zedong.
Taiwan – with a population of just 22 million – was recognised by the as the government of China until 1971 when the mainland took its seat at the United Nations.
China’s deposed leader Chiang Kaishek, who was backed by US, fled with his defeat forces the island of Taiwan, about 100 miles off the coast of the mainland.
Taiwan has since developed an identity of its own and become a thriving democratic country with close ties to the West, in particular the US.
The party led by its current president Tsai Ingwen has independence as its ultimate goal.
But China continues to regard the island has being part of its territory and vowed to reunify it by force if necessary.
Even holding a vote on independence is widely seen as the trigger for war.
To that end China has been pouring billions into modernising its military, including now building a fleet of aircraft carriers to match the US Navy.
That has put the country on a collision course with the United States, its main arms supplier.
President Joe Biden has recently said America will defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.
In recent years tensions have been rising as US air and naval forces patrol the sea around Taiwan, to China’s intense annoyance.
Chinese warplanes regularly buzz the island while it has stepped up rehearsals for invasion.
Military experts say the exercises serve both as intimidation and as an opportunity for Chinese troops to practice sealing off Taiwan by blocking sea and air traffic.
That’s an important strategic option the Chinese military might pursue in the event it uses military force to take Taiwan.
Chinese nationalists fled to Taiwan after the Communists won the civil war on the mainland in 1949 – and the island has remained self-governing ever since.
Beijing has always aggressively insisted that Taiwan belongs to them by right – and have pledged to reclaim the island by 2050.