May 26, 2024

Purges in China’s military allow Taiwan some respite – for now

Purges in China’s military allow Taiwan some respite – for now

Purges in China’s military allow Taiwan some respite – for now

By Frederik Kelter
Jan 20th 2024

Danny Jia was walking down a street outside Taiwan’s Taoyuan city in late December when he suddenly heard automatic gunfire.

Not far from Jia’s location that morning, the 249th mechanised infantry brigade of the Taiwanese armed forces was conducting military drills at Guanyin beach on the island’s northwest coast.

“I was so startled that I almost dropped my phone,” the 46-year-old civil servant told Al Jazeera.

“The exercises are also a scary reminder that a war might actually come to Taiwan in the future,” Jia said.

Guanyin beach is one of Taiwan’s so-called “red beaches” – stretches of the coastline that in the event of a Chinese invasion, offer the most favourable conditions for amphibious landing assaults.

For China’s military planners, Guanyin beach would be particularly suitable as it lies less than 18 kilometres (11 miles) from Taiwan’s primary international airport, and only about 50 kilometres (31 miles) from the outskirts of the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.

Democratic and self-ruled Taiwan has never been part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), but Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and has not ruled out using force to bring the island under its control.

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