China concludes drills to simulate an aerial and naval blockade of Taiwan

Joint Sword, a military drill that mimicked a blockade of Taiwan, was "successfully accomplished" by the Chinese military. With the engagement of the aircraft carrier CNS Shandong, there were extensive military exercises in the area of Taiwan. The Chinese general staff stated that "several types of forces conducted joint precision strikes on important targets on the island of Taiwan as well as the surrounding sea areas."

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The exercise, which was planned by the Chinese People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Eastern Theater Command, began on April 8, 2023, a few hours after Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, and French President Emmanuel Macron had wrapped up their official visit to China. Also, it took place at the same time as Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, and Kevin McCarty, the speaker of the US House of Representatives.


The drills were a warning against "the collusive and aggressive acts of the external forces and the Taiwan independence separatist forces," according to the Chinese Ministry of Defense. The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense reported the presence of 91 Chinese military aircraft in the area on April 10, 2023, the last day of the exercise. Of those, 54 aircraft crossed the Taiwan Strait's median line and entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ).


A tanker, a variety of fighter jets, observational planes, and even a TB-001 drone were among the other aircraft. The national military in Taiwan deploys mission aircraft, ships, and shore-mounted missile systems to carefully monitor and react, the Ministry of national defense stressed in a statement. Taiwan wasn't the only country keeping an eye on things. 

The actions of the CNS Shandong, which approached as close as 230 kilometres to the Japanese island of Miyakojima, were described in a statement issued by the Japanese Joint Staff Office on April 10, 2023. According to a press release from the Japanese Joint Staff Office, "a total of about 120 departures and arrivals on the Chinese navy's Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier Shandong were confirmed, including about 80 times by [J-15 - ed. note] fighter aircraft and about 40 times by ship-based helicopters." The Chinese Navy's first aircraft carrier to be built domestically was the CNS Shandong, which was put into service in 2019. It is based on the layout of its forerunner, the CNS Liaoning, a sister ship of the Admiral Kuznetsov-class flagship of the Russian Navy.

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