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China conducts military drills surrounding Taiwan as "punishment"

TOKYO, May 23 (KUNA) -- China's military said it started a two-day joint military drills surrounding Taiwan on Thursday morning as a "strong punishment" for "Taiwan independence" separatist forces, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
The drills are being conducted by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command in the Taiwan Strait, the north, south, and east of Taiwan, as well as areas around the islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin, according to the Command spokesman Li Xi.
"Military services including the army, navy, air force, and rocket force of the theater command are being organized to conduct the joint drills, code-named Joint Sword-2024A, from Thursday to Friday," Li was quoted as saying. The spokesperson said the drills serve as a strong punishment for the separatist acts of "Taiwan independence" forces and a stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces, according to the report.
"The drills focus on joint sea-air combat-readiness patrol, joint seizure of comprehensive battlefield control, and joint precision strikes on key targets," Li said, adding that the exercises involve the patrol of vessels and planes closing in on areas around the island of Taiwan and integrated operations inside and outside the island chain to test the joint real combat capabilities of the forces of the Command.
The exercises came after the inauguration of new Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te on Monday, who urged Beijing to acknowledge Taiwan's government and engage in dialogue with Taiwan in his inaugural address. China and Taiwan separated after a civil war in 1949, but Beijing still sees the island as its territory. (end) mk.hb