Chinese drills near Taiwan

Context: Large-scale Chinese military drills named “Joint Sword-2024A” are taking place near Taiwan just days after the swearing-in of Taiwanese President William Lai Ching-te. These drills are seen as military means to send political signals and China’s “grey zone” tactics.

Taiwan’s response

• Condemnation: Taiwan condemned the drills as an “irrational provocation” and mobilised sea, air and ground forces to demonstrate preparedness.
• Porcupine strategy: This asymmetric warfare capacity involves using smaller but highly effective weapons, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), like the domestically developed drone “Albatross II,“ to make an invasion by a larger force prohibitively costly.
• Natural defences: The Taiwan Strait, with few deep-water ports on the Taiwan coast lined by cliffs, discourages invasion, which is further limited by the monsoon season and Taiwan’s mountainous terrain.
• Defence capabilities: Taiwan’s government has increased defence spending by an average of nearly 5% per year and, as a percentage of GDP, increased from 2% to 2.5%.The Taiwan Relations Act by the US allows for the supply of “defensive” weapons.

Taiwan Strait

• Also known as Formosa Strait, Strait of Fokien or Fujian and the Black Ditch.
• Separates: Taiwan from continental Asia (China). Connects: South China Sea and East China Sea

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