Information derived from satellite images show Chinese amphibious armoured vehicles and mobile missile launchers travelling to the South China Sea. But, alarmingly as Beijing sent its naval vessels south, so too did Taiwan. Taiwan sent over 200 marines to its own military outpost on the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea.
This action by Taiwan has caused outrage in Beijing, as China claims the islands as part of its territory.
Beijing refers to these islands as the Dongsha Islands.
China claims a vast area of the South China Sea within a line on the map known as the “nine-dash line”.
The government of Taiwan also claims much of the area within the nine-dash line.
Taiwan’s claims “legally, historically, geographically, or in reality”, all of the South China Sea within the nine-dash line, including the contentious Pratas islands.
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The United States back Taiwan but has also discouraged the nation from sending the military to coastal areas.
Speaking in the South China Morning Post, Wang Ting-yu, a Taiwanese legislator from the Democratic Progressive Party said: “The US used to condemn Taiwan if we posted the military on the Pratas and Taiping.
“But this time there has been no objection over our posting marines there because they all want to contain China’s military expansion in the region.”
Taiwanese foreign minister Joseph Wu, warned on July 22 that China “may look for excuses to start a war or conflict” with the island nation.
He added: “What China is doing now is continuing to ramp up preparedness to solve the Taiwan issue.
“We are very concerned that China will target Taiwan now that the Hong Kong security law’s been passed.”