China says military drills encircling Taiwan designed to test its ability to ‘seize power’

China’s military drills around Taiwan are designed to test its ability to “seize power” over the island, the People’s Liberation Army said on May 24 as its forces kicked off a second day of large-scale exercises encircling its democratic neighbor, SİA informs referring to CNN.

The exercises are the largest in more than a year and come just days after Taiwan swore in its new president, Lai Ching-te, who is openly loathed by Beijing for championing the island’s sovereignty and distinct identity.

Beijing has denounced Lai as a “dangerous separatist” and decried his inauguration speech on Monday, during which he called on China to cease its intimidation of Taiwan, which has grown much more pronounced under Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The PLA, which dwarfs Taipei’s outgunned military, kicked off the exercises on Thursday morning, sending warships and fighter jets around Taiwan and its outlying islands in what it called “a strong punishment for separatist acts of Taiwan independence forces.”

On Friday, the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command said it was continuing the drills on both sides of the Taiwan island chain to “test the ability to jointly seize power, launch joint attacks and occupy key areas.”

China’s ruling Communist Party views Taiwan as part of its territory, despite never having controlled it, and has vowed to take the island by force if necessary.

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