April 22, 2024

China says it has started three days of military exercises around Taiwan, in an announcement that comes after the island democracy’s president met the US House Speaker in defiance of repeated threats by Beijing.

The Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command announced the drills Saturday, describing them as “a serious warning against the Taiwan separatist forces’ collusion with external forces, and a necessary move to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The exercises, dubbed “United Sharp Sword,” would feature “combat ready patrols and exercises in and around the Taiwan Strait, and to the north, south and east of Taiwan and the sea and airspace as planned,” Senior Colonel Shi Yi of the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement on Saturday.

The drills come a day after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen returned from a 10-day visit to Central America and the United States where she met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Beijing had repeatedly warned against the trip and had previously threatened to take “strong and resolute measures” if it went ahead. China claims the self-governing democracy of Taiwan as part of its territory, despite never having ruled it, and has spent decades trying to isolate it diplomatically.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said it was closely monitoring the situation and would make every effort to defend national security and sovereignty.

“In recent years, the Chinese Communist Party has continued to send aircraft and ships to harass the region, which has threatened the regional situation. It even used President Tsai’s visit and transit to the United States as an excuse to conduct military exercises, which has seriously damaged regional peace, stability, and security,” Taiwan’s defense ministry said.

The ministry added it would respond with a calm, rational and serious attitude, and not seek to escalate conflict.

Source: By  and , CNN

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