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China tests ‘seize power’ capability on second day of surprise drill around Taiwan

Taiwan President William Lai Ching-te (C) watches a demonstration on a US-made missile system during a visit to inspect Taiwanese forces deployed to Taoyuan on May 23, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

China has started the second day of military drills around Chinese Taipei, conducting "seize power" and control key areas exercises.

The two-day war games which began on Thursday came after a provocative inauguration speech on Monday by Chinese Taipei’s new pro-independence President William Lai Ching-te.

Lai said on Monday that he will "stand on the front line" to defend Taipei against Beijing. China strongly criticized the speech.

Beijing views Taiwan as its own territory and does not rule out using force to return the territory under its control. It has described the new Taiwanese president as a “separatist” and “troublemaker”.

On Friday, the Eastern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army said its forces continued with their drills, dubbed "Joint Sword - 2024A".

The exercises are to "test the ability to jointly seize power, launch joint attacks and occupy key areas", it said.

Video footage showed soldiers streaming out of a building to battle stations while jets took off to a rousing martial tune.

At sea, Chinese sailors called out to their Taiwanese counterparts, warning them against using force, according to China's state broadcaster CCTV.

The Chinese theater command also showed an animated video on its WeChat social media account of missiles being launched at Taiwan from the ground, air and sea, which then slam into the cities of Taipei, Kaohsiung and Hualien in balls of flame.

"Sacred weapons to kill independence," read words in red, written in the traditional Chinese characters Taiwan uses, at the end of animation.

Chinese Taipei mobilized its armed forces to monitor and shadow Chinese activity as the drills got under way.

The island’s defense ministry released pictures of F-16s, armed with live missiles, patrolling the skies.

The United Nations has called on both Beijing and Taipei to avoid words and moves that would escalate tensions between the two sides.

Under the "One China" policy recognized by almost all world countries, including the US, Beijing has sovereignty over Taipei.

However, despite Beijing's strong opposition, the US gives the island financial and military aid in an effort to decrease Beijing's regional clout.

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