China’s military released a music video this week highlighting stepped-up operations by Chinese warplanes and warships around Taiwan.
The propaganda video shows Chinese bombers flying and an aircraft carrier launching warplanes along with guided-missile destroyers. The footage is interspersed with photos of Taiwan and images from Taiwanese cities.
The video ends with an ominous warning to Taiwan regarding the potential for military action against the democratic-ruled island, which the Chinese Communist Party regards as a breakaway province.
“Precious isle is distantly separated from [the motherland’s] bosom; easily bullied by the foreign thieves,” the video states in Chinese characters.
“Today the long tassels [weapons] … are protecting the island,” the video says in Chinese. “Subdue the tigers and drive off the wolves to protect the people.”
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council criticized the video in a statement saying the Chinese Communist Party is promoting “reunification by force,” and should give up plans for military action against Taiwan.
The council called the video a provocation that raises tensions and undermines the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.
Attempts at intimidation will strengthen the resolve of the Taiwanese people and garner support for the island from freedom-loving and democratic nations around the world, the statement said.
The release of the propaganda video by the Eastern Theater Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) came a day after Chinese military forces conducted a large-scale exercise around Taiwan.
“The exercise focused on land strikes, sea assaults and other subjects, aiming to test the troops’ joint combat capability and resolutely counter the collusive and provocative acts of the external forces and the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces,” the PLA said in a statement posted on the official site China Military Online.
Taiwanese officials say the exercises on Monday involved more than 50 Chinese warplanes, some of which crossed the median line down the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait.
The informal median line has for the past several decades separated Taiwan from mainland China and maintained a fragile status quo between the rival states.
The warplanes included J-10, J-11, J-16 and Su-30 fighters, H-6 bombers, three drones and early warning and reconnaissance aircraft, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Twitter.
The Chinese war games followed the transit of a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer through the Taiwan Strait, an action Chinese officials said violated Beijing’s claim of sovereignty over the strait.
The Navy said the operation was legal because the strait is part of international waters.
China’s military has stepped up what the Pentagon has called provocative coercion against Taiwan since the visit to Taiwan last August by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
China has accelerated its timetable for taking over Taiwan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in November, without providing details.
U.S. military commanders have warned that China is prepared to conduct operations against Taiwan in the next six years, or perhaps sooner.
The Chinese military posturing has continued through this week, with 15 more PLA aircraft spotted near Taiwan on Thursday, roughly a week ahead of the Jan. 22 Chinese New Year.
“We stand guard at our posts knowing we have what it takes to grant our citizens a safe Chinese New Year,” Taiwan‘s Defense Ministry said of the latest incursions into the Taiwan Air Defense Zone.
Taiwanese military forces also conducted drills on Thursday, including marines that carried out urban combat exercises “with speed, surprise and violence,” the ministry said.
The Taiwanese navy also carried out joint training drills that practiced loading armored vehicles onto ships and landing helicopters on ships. The Taiwan air force and army also conducted military exercises prior to the upcoming new year holiday.