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China announced on Monday that it is expanding its military exercises as concerns grow about a potential conflict in Taiwan.
The exercises include anti-submarine drills that target US support for Taiwan if China invades the island, according to social media posts by the People’s Liberation Army.
China’s military said exercises involving missile strikes, warplanes and ship movements across the center line of the Taiwan Strait, which separates the regions, have been conducted since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last week.
China dismissed calls to ease tensions and gave no immediate indication of when it would end the blockade.
China to conduct 4th direct military drills around Taiwan after Pelosi visits island: report
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense said on Sunday it had detected 66 aircraft and 14 warships conducting military exercises. The island responded by putting its military on alert and deploying ships, planes and other assets to spy on Chinese planes, ships and drones “simulating attacks on Taiwan Island and our ships at sea”.
And according to the island’s official Central News Agency, Taiwan’s military will respond to the Chinese exercises by conducting live-fire artillery drills in southern Pingtung County on Tuesday and Thursday.
Taiwan’s drills include snipers, combat vehicles, armored vehicles and attack helicopters.
China views Taiwan as part of its own territory. Taiwan and China separated in the late 1940s after the Communists won the civil war on the mainland. Both sides agree that they are one country but disagree when it comes to which government deserves national leadership.
Still, China sees foreign officials visiting Taiwan as recognition of its sovereignty. Beijing has threatened to take over the island by force if it believes such action is necessary.
Nancy Pelosi arrives in Singapore to begin a tour of Asia
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called on the international community to “support democratic Taiwan” and “stop any escalation of the regional security situation”.
The Group of Seven called out China for its actions, prompting Beijing to cancel a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.
In response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China has ended defense and climate talks with the US and imposed sanctions against the speaker.
The Biden administration and Pelosi have each said the US remains committed to the One China policy, recognizing Beijing as the Chinese government while maintaining informal ties and defense ties with Taiwan.
But the US still condemned China’s exercises in the Taiwan Strait. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called it “fundamentally irresponsible” and said there was “no need and no reason for this escalation.”
Bi-Khim Hsiao, the top US ambassador to Taiwan, said in a recent interview that China had “no reason to be so angry” about Pelosi’s visit, adding that the island has welcomed US lawmakers for decades.
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“We have been living under the threat of China for decades,” Hsiao said on Sunday. “And we can’t let their ongoing threats define our desire to make friends internationally. If you have a kid who’s being bullied at school, you don’t say you’re not going to school. You try to find a way to deal with the bully. .”
And during a visit to Myanmar by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the US is “taking the opportunity to build up its military deployment in the region, which deserves greater vigilance and a firm boycott from all sides.”
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“China’s firm stance” aims to “seriously maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait and regional stability,” Wang said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.