China said it is carrying out military drills near the Taiwan Strait to protect its sovereignty as a top US official visits Taiwan. Tensions are rising between Beijing and Washington and this visit is intended to show the US support for the island.
China has over time regarded self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province. Many years have passed since a high-level official from the US has visited the island; Keith Kratch is the first since.
China’s defense ministry spokesperson, Ren Guoqiang accused the US and Taiwan of collusion. He made no reference to the visit but said the two often cause disturbances frequently. He said the US’s attempt to use Taiwan to control China or relying on foreigners to build one up is wishful thinking.
“Recently, certain large countries are incessantly making negative moves regarding the Taiwan issue. They are sending wrong signals to the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces. This seriously threatens peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” Colonel Zhang Chunhui, spokesman of the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said in a statement. While Mr Azar stayed within US policy on Taiwan during his three-day trip, he referred to the island as a jurisdiction rather than a country. Beijing views such a high profile he visit by such a senior Washington. The US has ratcheted its campaign against China through sanctions against officials involved in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. The same applies against Chinese companies, as well as by seeking to deepen its relationship with Taiwan. China claims Taiwan as its territory and threatens to attack if Taipei refuses to submit to its control indefinitely.
The US response
Mr. Ren gave Vino details about the military exercises that involve the People’s Liberation Army’s eastern theater command. He, however, described them as ‘legitimate and necessary for the mainland to protect its sovereignty and integrity’.
These military drills follow China’s two days of large scale drills off Taiwan’s southwestern coast last week.
Washington said Mr. Kratch was visiting Taiwan to attend a memorial of the late president Lee Teng-hui happening on Saturday.
Later on Friday, he will be attending a dinner with Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen at her official residence. His agenda is, however, not clear to the media.
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