Chinese military exercises in the Taiwan Strait send a strong signal to Taipei’s “secessionist” politicians who rely on the US’ support for the island nation’s independence, Beijing has said amid increasing tensions.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait are “combat exercises” necessary to protect “national sovereignty,” Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
The PLA’s military exercises and training operations are sending a signal that our determination to curb Taiwan independence and Taiwan-US collusion is not just talk.
Ma explained the drills are not aimed at regular people in Taiwan and said China, which considers the island its province, stays committed to peaceful reunification. At the same time, Beijing will “never leave any room” for Taiwan’s “secessionist activities,” he said.
The spokesperson blasted the US for calling Beijing a military threat and for its “sending of wrong signals to the Taiwan independence forces and playing the Taiwan card.”
China regularly protests against foreign involvement in Taiwan, which has been closely allied with the US for decades. On Tuesday, Beijing warned Washington “not to play with fire” after it changed the US State Department guidelines to allow government officials to have more contact with Taipei. A delegation led by former US senator Chris Dodd arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday.
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Taipei, in turn, says Beijing’s military activity near its border leads to tensions. On Monday, Taiwan’s defense ministry said 25 PLA warplanes flew into the island nation’s defense identification zone, which was the largest such incursion reported to date.
In a statement shared with local media, a spokesperson for the US State Department condemned the move and called on Beijing to cease all forms of pressure against Taiwan.
Meanwhile, China’s state-run newspaper, the Global Times, cited Fu Qianshao, a military aviation expert, saying such flybys and similar drills will continue if more provocations occur.
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