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Tensions continue to rise between Taiwan & China as a result of a new Chinese military exercise.

According to information published by Global Times on May 22, 2024, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) recently commenced the Joint Sword-2024A exercise around Taiwan. 
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Artist rendering of the Joint Sword-2024A exercise around Taiwan. (Picture source: Generated by AI)

The exercise focuses on "joint sea and air combat readiness patrols, joint seizure of comprehensive battlefield control, and joint precision attacks on key targets." This marks a shift towards more aggressive and rapid response capabilities, emphasizing speed and precision in military operations.

The PLA's strategy, influenced by the concept of "Light Warfare," aims to integrate advanced weapons systems and intelligence to achieve a decisive advantage through rapid detection and destruction of targets. This involves full-spectrum tracking and precision strikes against critical nodes in an adversary's military system​.

The Joint Sword-2024A exercise is conducted in two phases. The first phase (May 23-24, 2024) included joint combat readiness patrols and precision strikes. The second phase, expected in the coming months, will likely involve more advanced maneuvers.

The exercise incorporates cutting-edge technology, including supersonic and hypersonic vehicles, unmanned aerial and underwater systems, and advanced reconnaissance drones like the WZ-8. These technologies enhance the PLA's ability to perform rapid, precise strikes and maintain situational awareness even in contested environments. The use of hypersonic glide vehicles capable of launching sub-munitions mid-flight exemplifies the PLA's focus on achieving a detect-destroy convergence​​.

The timing of the Joint Sword-2024A exercise closely follows the inauguration of Taiwanese President William Lai, reflecting China's ongoing efforts to intimidate Taiwan and signal its readiness to use force if necessary. The PLA's actions are intended to deter any moves towards Taiwanese independence and to demonstrate its capability to encircle and isolate Taiwan in the event of a conflict.

The Joint Sword exercises are part of a broader strategy to enhance China's military readiness and operational flexibility. Future iterations of such exercises are expected to incorporate more advanced platforms, such as the H-20 stealth bomber, Y-20 aerial refueling systems, and new airborne early warning systems, further enhancing the PLA’s capabilities to project power and control critical air and maritime spaces around Taiwan​.

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