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> China staged live fire drills along its coastline Wednesday in a time of high tension between Beijing and Taiwan. State TV showed Chinese helicopters firing off missiles and Taiwan's Defense Ministry says two Chinese bombers flew around the island. Beijing state media has said they were a direct message to so called provocations by Taiwan leaders.
Taipei said it amounted to military intimidation. Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province the Communist Party never manage to liberate. And tension has run high since the tough warning from leader Xi Jinping last month against Taiwan trying to formally declare independence. Reuters Ben Ben Blanchard explains what's got Beijing worried.
>> China's become increasingly suspicious of Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen was elected Taiwan's president in 2016. China believes that she wants to push the island towards formal independence. Now Tsai says that she just wants to maintain the current status quo across the Taiwan strait. That she's committed to peace but that also she will defend Taiwan's security and its democracy.
So in the last year or so China has really stepped up the number of military drills around Taiwan. And that has included flying bombers are basically to encircle Taiwan.>> China considers Taiwan its most sensitive issue but expert say a true military conflict will be tricky for both sides.
>> And now if you talk to military strategists about this they say these days will China actually has overwhelming superiority over Taiwan. They say probably wouldn't have to actually attack Taiwan, it could just simply mount an economic, a naval blockade or air blockade of Taiwan, for example. Maybe mount cyber attacks on Taiwan to bring Taiwan to its knees.
But Taiwan, of course, would not sit idly by if this happened. And the fear in Washington would be that Washington, or maybe even Japan, would get sucked into this conflict.>> Last week, China and Taiwan both staged drills on the water, but Beijing's was unusually large. And even featured an appearance from Xi himself in military fatigues.
State media claimed it was Beijing's largest ever navy exercise.