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China organizes “strike drills” around Taiwan, citing provocation | News

Taiwan accuses Beijing of destroying regional peace and trying to intimidate its people.

China’s military says it has conducted “strike drills” in the sea and airspace around Taiwan in response to what it says is provocation by the democratically-ruled island and the United States.

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, said Sunday’s drills showed Beijing was attacking regional peace and trying to intimidate the Taiwanese people.

China staged war games over Taiwan in August following a visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and on Saturday condemned the US over a new defense authorization bill that increases military aid to Taiwan.

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In a brief statement, China’s military’s Eastern Theater Command said it had conducted “joint combat readiness patrols and joint strike fire exercises” around Taiwan. She did not specify the exact location.

“This is a decisive response to the current escalation of collusion and provocations from the United States and Taiwan,” it said without elaborating.

“The theater forces will take all necessary measures for the resolute defense of national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement added.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said China’s actions “once again highlight its mentality of settling differences by force and destroying regional peace and stability.”

“The acts of ‘military intimidation’ by the Chinese Communists are clearly intended to intimidate our people and do not contribute [China‚Äôs] international image”, it is stated and added Taiwan will continue to strengthen your army.

Taiwan has complained about repeated Chinese military activities near the island over the past three years, as Beijing tries to pressure Taipei to accept Chinese sovereignty.

The US is Taiwan’s most important international sponsor and arms supplier despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties. US arms sales to Taiwan are a constant irritant in Beijing’s relations with Washington.

Taiwan’s military dwarfs that of its giant neighbor. Its air force is under particular pressure to repeatedly repel Chinese incursions near the islands.

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China’s drills coincided with newly elected mayors and county chiefs taking office in Taiwan following local elections last month that crushed the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.

Taiwan strongly disputes China’s claims to the island, saying only its 23 million people can decide their future.

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