China announced on 12 Apr that it would hold live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait on 18 Apr this week. This decision, just hours after staging the biggest naval parade in China’s history, was observed by experts as an attempt to show support for Russia and apply pressure on the US, and also signal disapproval towards Taiwan’s growing ties with the US. The support for Russia comes at a tense moment between the US and Russia over the crisis in Syria – the US, together with the UK and France, had launched a series of air strikes over areas of Syria. (It is important to note that Russia is the Syrian regime’s top ally.) This surprise decision could end up escalating the conflict and worsen the already-tense relationship between the superpowers.

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