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China says military drills around Taiwan are ‘necessary’ reaction to US ‘provocation’

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By AFP

  • China is conducting military exercises around the Taiwan Strait in the wake of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island nation. 
  • China has defended their military drills and stated that they are a measure to protect ‘national sovereignty’.
  • It is set to begin live-fire military drills within 20km of the Taiwanese shore. 

China insisted on Wednesday that its military exercises around the Taiwan Strait were “necessary and just” in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island.

“The Chinese military’s conducting of military exercises in the sea near China’s Taiwan are a necessary and just measure to resolutely protect national sovereignty,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a briefing.

She said:

In the current struggle surrounding Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, the United States are the provocateurs, China is the victim. The joint provocation by the US and Taiwan came first, China’s just defense came after.

 

China’s leaders have expressed fury at Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, painting it as threatening the fragile cross-strait status quo.

In response, China has announced a series of live-fire military exercises around Taiwan, with the Eastern Theatre Command saying that “joint naval and air exercises will be conducted in the northern, southwestern, and southeastern sea and airspaces” of the island.

It is also set to begin further live-fire military drills on Thursday in zones encircling Taiwan – at some points within just 20km of the island’s shore.

The drills will include “long-range live ammunition shooting” in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from mainland China and straddles vital shipping lanes.

Taipei’s defence ministry has warned the plans threaten key ports and urban areas.