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Weighing in at 500Kg, the air-to-surface rocket can carry a payload of six differing munitions that can focus on sperate targets. The latest rocket is called the Tianlei in Chinese, translating to “sky-thunder” in English. This deadly new weapon comes amid an escalation in tension between the US and China over the South China Sea region and a recent high-level US diplomatic visit to Taiwan.
Taiwan is under diplomatic threat and even a military threat from China.
In the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait Beijing is carrying out many naval drills as the country has long stated its aim to bring Taiwan under Chinese control.
Beijing’s spokesperson for the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command, Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhu declared the naval exercises were “a necessary move responding to the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and were meant to safeguard national sovereignty.”
China is facing domestic difficulties because of the economic fallout due to coronavirus, many analysts fear China may cause an incident with Taiwan in order to distract from its domestic problems.
China has been furious with the US for sending a top-level diplomatic mission to Taipei, but also with Washington’s action to sell 66 new US F-16 fighters to the island nation.
Democratic Representative Eliot Engel of New York and Republican Representative Michael McCaul of Texas said in a joint statement: “The sale of F-16s to Taiwan sends a strong message about the US commitment to security and democracy in the Indo-Pacific.”
The Global Times tabloid, a state-run Chinese media outlet, voiced a scathing attack on the US deal to sell F-16s to Taiwan.
The Global Times said: “While the deal was approved by the Trump administration last year and a formal signing was expected to take place sooner or later, its announcement at this particular time is believed to be yet another US provocation and a step on the red line of the Taiwan question, which further risks confrontation.”
Washington has also signed a contract with Taipei for the island nation to upgrade its Patriot missile defence system.
This surface-to-air defence system alongside the sale of F-16s to Taiwan is adding a further argument to Chinese president Xi Jinping to answer the “Taiwan question”.
The “Taiwan question” for president Xi Jinping is how to bring Taiwan to its knees in the same way the new security law has nuzzled any form of democratic expression in Hong Kong.
There is also a threat to Taiwan from an influx of Chinese spies masquerading as refugees from the Hong Kong political upheaval.
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The island’s Mainland Affairs Council said it was “strengthening the management” of arriving Hong Kong and Macau residents.
This would be especially those who are originally from mainland China.
The threat is from those “carrying out infiltration, united front, disturbance or spying activities”.
The “United Front” refers to the Chinese Communist party’s United Front Work Department an intelligence agency based in Beijing that coerces over-seas Chinese to follow and promote the Communist party’s propaganda line.
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