China’s military exercises near Taiwan raise concerns in the West

The World
A large military vessel is shown in the distnace amid foggy weather conditions.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning participates in a naval parade in the sea near Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province, 2019. China says it is holding naval drills involving the battlegroup of the aircraft carrier Liaoning in waters near Taiwan.

Mark Schiefelbein/AP/Pool/File photo

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The American military is warning that China could be accelerating its timetable for capturing control of Taiwan. This follows military exercises on Monday to the west and east of the island that involved aircraft carriers, warplanes and anti-submarine aircraft that entered Taiwan's self-declared air defense zone, according to Taiwan's Defense Ministry. China called the buildup a “routine training exercise.”

The USS John S McCain, a guided-missile destroyer, sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, a move the US military said “demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific," US Navy 7th Fleet spokesperson Lt. Mark Langford said in a statement.

For decades, Taiwan has been a source of tensions between the US and China, which sees the island as a breakaway province. While Taiwan has had a separate government for decades, Beijing claims sovereignty over the island with a population of almost 24 million.

A military move against Taiwan would present a test to the US support and many fear could spark a US-China conflict.

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