Chinese army maneuvers around Taiwan

Chinese army maneuvers around Taiwan

AA / Ankara – Istanbul / Faruk Zorlu and Riyaz Khalek

China’s armed forces carried out exercises around the island of Taiwan on Saturday in response to Vice President Lai Ching-te’s stop in the United States, prior to his visit to Paraguay earlier this week.

The maneuvers focused on “seizing air and sea space” by the PLA’s Eastern Regional Command, and combat preparations included sea and air patrols around the island country.

Shi Yi, a spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army Command, said the maneuvers and patrols aim to improve coordination between military ships and aircraft and their ability to control the air and sea.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said it had detected at least 42 Chinese aircraft around the island.

26 of them crossed the median line – which Beijing does not recognize – in the Taiwan Strait.

The spokesman for the Eastern Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Shi Yi, said that the exercise will test the capabilities of the Chinese armed forces in real conditions.

“These patrols and maneuvers should be seen as a stern warning against the ‘Taiwan independence separatists’ collusion with foreign elements and against their provocations,” he added.

Beijing strongly condemned Lai’s “pause” and vowed to take “strict measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

“In the core of China’s core interests, the Taiwan issue is the political foundation of China-US relations and the first red line that cannot be crossed in China-US relations,” Foreign Minister Wang Wenbin said Friday.

He added that Washington’s decision to organize the so-called “pause” sends “seriously wrong signals to separatist forces advocating Taiwan independence.”

Lai Ching-te returned home early Friday after a week-long trip that included a two-day “stop” in the United States, before heading to Paraguay where he attended the newly elected president’s inauguration.

During a 25-hour layover in New York, where he received some support, he nonetheless faced protests from the Taiwanese and Chinese diasporas. On her return trip, Lay stopped briefly in San Francisco.

Lai Ching Te is also a candidate for the leadership of the Democratic Progress Party (in power) for the elections scheduled for January.

Wang said the United States “is stubbornly pursuing the strategy of using the island of Taiwan to control China and continues to undermine the one-China principle.”

* Translated from English by Mourad Belhaj

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