China is going to hold live-fire navy drills in the Taiwan Strait in show of support for Russia over Syria (Source Business Insider) Beijing announced that it would hold live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait next week. The drills are both a message to Taipei and a show of geopolitical support for Russia during its time of friction with the United States, military observers said. The live-fire drill is expected to take place on April 18, making it the first naval exercises in the waters since September 2015. The announcement came just hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping, who also chairs the powerful Central Military Commission, was on the southern island of Hainan to inspect the biggest naval parade in the country’s history, a massive flexing of naval muscle amid China’s growing rivalry with the US. Macau-based military expert Antony Wong Dong said military conflict between the US and Russia in Syria could “break out at any time” and the drill in the Taiwan Strait was meant to be a show of support to China’s strategic partner Russia, diverting attention from the crisis in Syria after US President Donald Trump threatened a strike against Syrian forces. “It’s very likely that as Russia’s strategic partner, China [is using its] navy to show its political support to Russia at such a sensitive moment,” Wong said.