The practices in the field of the Taiwan Strait are a “necessary measure to safeguard national freedom,” China’s Defense Ministry said in the statement Tuesday that gave no features on the timing, members and location of the exercises.
It said the “joint war preparedness protection” by the Eastern Theater Command was inspired by the “seriously mistaken words and actions of related countries over the issue of Taiwan” and the actions of those supporting the self-governing island’s independence.
The U.S. has powerful but friendly relations with Taiwan, and tensions have been growing between the U.S. and China over many issues, including Hong Kong, the South China Sea, the coronavirus pandemic and business. More Details on the U.S. delegation that reportedly came to Taiwan on Tuesday were not instantly available.
A Chinese Defense Ministry statement from an unnamed spokesperson firmly condemned the visit, saying, “no one should underestimate the firm purpose of the People’s Liberation Army to safeguard the Chinese people’s national freedom and territorial honesty.”
China sees Taiwan as its region to be joined by military force if necessary. The sides broke amid local war in 1949, and, following a short period of rapprochement, relationships have grown increasingly tense under Taiwan’s independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen.
During China’s National Day weekend in early October, China sent 149 military aircraft southwest of Taiwan in exposure group forms, making Taiwan scramble aircraft and initiate its air defence missile systems. This week, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said such tactics tried to wear down the island’s defences and diminish morale.
In Washington, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby stated congressional visits to Taiwan “are almost common and in keeping with U.S. commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act,” which commits the U.S. government to secure Taiwan can protect itself and related to warnings to the island as matters of “grave concern.”
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