The EconomistThe Economist

What to make of China’s military drills around Taiwan

13 Apr 2023 · 3 min read

By China's standards, this week's drills near Taiwan could have been worse. Still, they did include several new indicators of how China could try to take the island by force, as The Economist reports.

Curated by informed

Restraint may not be the first word that springs to mind when Chinese warplanes and naval ships simulate an attack on Taiwan. But the three days of drills that ended on April 10th were on the milder end of the spectrum of China’s potential responses to a meeting between Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, and the speaker of America’s House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, in California on April 5th. Most important, China did not fire missiles over or around Taiwan, as it did after the previous speaker, Nancy Pelosi, visited the self-governing island in August.

China’s reaction thus far appears to reflect a renewed focus on diplomacy, especially with European governments, to offset its widening fissure with America. It may also signal concerns about inflaming public opinion in Taiwan ahead of its presidential election in 2024, which Chinese officials hope will lead to friendlier ties with the mainland. Even so, the drills included several new indicators of how China could try to take the island by force. And there were fresh signals, too, about how America and its allies might respond.

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