China began drills around Taiwan after the US Speaker’s meeting

  • China begins three-day exercise around Taiwan
  • Taiwan says it will respond calmly
  • China angered by Taiwan president’s meeting with US speaker
  • The announcement came shortly after the French president left China

FUZHOU, China/TAIPEI, April 8 (Reuters) – China began three days of military exercises around Taiwan on Saturday in a show of anger over Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the island’s defense ministry said. It responds calmly.

The drills, announced the day after Tsai returned from the United States, were widely expected after China condemned a meeting with Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles.

China considers the democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own territory and has never abandoned the use of force to bring the island under its control. Taiwan’s government strongly objected to China’s claim.

Beijing’s announcement also came hours after a visit by senior European leaders to China.

The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said it had begun combat readiness patrols and “joint sword” exercises around Taiwan, which it previously said would be conducted “as planned” in the Taiwan Strait and north, south and east of Taiwan. .

“This is a serious warning against the collusion and provocation of Taiwan independence separatist forces and external forces, and is a necessary step to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it said in a short statement.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense said it was monitoring the situation, maintaining a high level of vigilance and responding appropriately to protect the island’s security.

China is using Tsai’s visit to the US “as a pretext to carry out military exercises, which has seriously damaged regional peace, stability and security,” the ministry said in a statement.

See also  Biden to meet Polish leader to discuss war in Ukraine

“The military will respond in a calm, rational and serious manner, and will stand guard and monitor in accordance with the principles of ‘no escalation or dispute’ to protect national sovereignty and national security.”

‘Harras’ and ‘Squeezes’

China is likely to increase its air and sea patrols in an effort to “harass” Taiwan’s air defense zone and “tighten” the normally-served median line of the Taiwan Strait, a senior Taiwanese official familiar with defense planning in the region told Reuters. As an unofficial barrier between the two.

The situation was “as expected” and manageable, and Taiwan’s government rehearsed various scenarios for its response, the man said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The ministry said on Saturday it had spotted four Chinese aircraft in Taiwan’s air defense zone in the previous 24 hours, a not unusual number.

Reuters reporters in the coastal area near Fuzhou, which lies opposite the Taiwan-controlled Matsu Islands, saw a Chinese warship drop bombs on a training area off China’s coast, China said late on Friday.

On Saturday, Tsai will meet a delegation of US lawmakers led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul.

The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, said in a commentary on Saturday that the government “has the strong ability to crush any form of Taiwan independence secession.”

“All countermeasures taken by the Chinese government belong to China’s legitimate and legal right to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it said.

Tsai repeatedly offered to negotiate with China, but was rejected because the government considered him a separatist. He says only the people of Taiwan can decide their future.

See also  DOJ announces special counsel for Mar-a-Lago and Jan. 6 criminal investigations related to Trump

Diplomacy and Exercises

China threatened unspecified retaliation if a meeting with McCarthy – second only to the US president – took place. Beijing staged war games around Taiwan in August, including live-fire missile launches, after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei.

However, unlike in August, China has not yet announced whether it will also hold missile exercises. In an earlier instance, China released a map at the time it announced the drills, showing where it would fire near Taiwan.

Taiwanese officials had expected a less severe reaction to the McCarthy meeting, which took place in the United States, but they said they could not rule out the possibility that China would still hold exercises.

China’s announcement came hours after French President Emmanuel Macron left China, where he met with President Xi Jinping and other senior leaders. Macron urged Beijing to talk sensitively with Russia about the war in Ukraine.

European Union President Ursula von der Leyen said stability in the Taiwan Strait was paramount when she met Xi in China this week.

Expecting China to compromise with Taiwan is “wishful thinking,” Xi responded, according to China’s official reading of the meeting.

China’s defense ministry, as well as taking notice of the drills around Taiwan, showed pictures of Xi meeting Macron and von der Leyen on its homepage.

A Taiwanese defense source said China’s latest efforts to woo foreign leaders after the announcement of the drills were futile.

“Once the exercises in the Straits were announced, all those efforts disappeared overnight and became a wasted effort.”

See also  Anti-Israel: Half a million Israelis take to the streets against judicial reform

Reporting by Josh Arslan in Fuzhou, China and Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Additional reporting by Yimo Lee in Taipei; Editing by Diane Croft and William Mallard

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *