Sunday, 27 Sep 2020

China says military drills near Taiwan are a 'necessary action'

China says ramping up military drills near self-ruled Taiwan is a ‘necessary action’ as Beijing vows to ‘defend its territory from foreign forces’

  • China has stepped up its threat to bring the island under control by military force
  • Taiwan claimed Chinese warplanes entered its airspace over two days last week 
  • Beijing said the recent drills were necessary to protect the country’s sovereignty
  • The move was also to send a signal to Taiwan leaders and its foreign backers

China’s recent military exercises near Taiwan are a ‘necessary action’ to protect the country’s sovereignty, particularly against ‘the interference of foreign forces’, a government spokesperson has said.

Beijing, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own, has stepped up large-scale air and naval drills near the island, in what Taiwan views as intimidation to force it to accept Chinese rule.

Ma Xiaoguang of the Chinese Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Wednesday that the Chinese war games were a deliberate signal to Taiwan leaders who were working with foreign backers to push the island’s formal independence from China.

China’s recent military exercises near Taiwan are a ‘necessary action’ to protect the country’s sovereignty, particularly against ‘the interference of foreign forces’, a government spokesperson has said. This file photo shows a Chinese Air Force Su-30 fighter being refuelled during a routine combat simulation drill over the West Pacific on September 12, 2016

Taiwan has denounced that Chinese warplanes entered its airspace over two days last week during the large-scale war games. In this file photo, Chinese missile frigate Yuncheng launches an anti-ship missile during a military exercise in south China on July 8, 2016

The statement comes after Taiwan has denounced that Chinese warplanes entered its airspace over two days last week during the large-scale war games that it called a ‘serious provocation to Taiwan and a grave threat to regional peace and stability’. 

The drills are said to have taken place in Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, between mainland Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands. Taiwan says China sent advanced Su-30 and J-10 fighters to participate.  

Taiwan urged the international community to respond, claiming such actions by China’s People’s Liberation Army threaten the entire region.

Ma said the exercises were a ‘necessary measure’ because Taiwan’s leaders had been engaging in activities aimed pushing the island’s formal independence from China. 

He said Taiwan’s leaders had sought support from abroad and were doing so in a bid to hamper China’s development.

‘The situation between the sides at present is even more grave and complicated. The Democratic Progressive Party authorities and the Taiwanese independence forces are behind this,’ Ma said, referring to Taiwan’s ruling party.

The drills are said to have taken place in Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, between mainland Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands. An undated handout photo released on September 10, 2020 by Taiwan Ministry of National Defense, showing China’s SU-30 Fighter aircraft entertaining Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)

Ma said the exercises were a ‘necessary measure’ because Taiwan’s leaders had been engaging in activities aimed pushing the island’s formal independence from China. In this file photo, Chinese soldiers take part in the Scout Trail obstacle course race on August 28

China’s tank crew members take part in a tank biathlon competition at the 2020 International Army Games at the Alabino training ground in Moscow, Russia on September 5

‘We have the determination and the capability to defeat all Taiwan independence activities and absolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,’ Ma told reporters at a regularly schedule briefing.

China has been stepping up its threat to bring the self-governing island under its control by military force with frequent war games and aerial patrols. 

That follows the apparent failure of its efforts to win over the island’s 23 million people to the prospect of political unification under the ‘one country, two systems’ framework in place in China, with a large majority of Taiwanese favouring maintaining the status quo of de facto independence.

China cut contacts with Taiwan’s government following the 2016 election of independence-minded President Tsai Ing-wen, who was re-elected this year, and has sought to isolate her diplomatically while ratcheting up political, military and economic pressure.

At Wednesday’s briefing, Ma repeatedly side-stepped questions about the decision by Taiwan’s China-friendly Nationalist Party not to send a delegation to attend an annual cross-strait economic and cultural forum in the Chinese city of Xiamen following remarks by a Chinese television presenter seen as disparaging.

Soldiers from China take part in the Open Water competition for pontoon bridges as a part of the 6th International Army Games 2020 in the town of Murom, Russia on September 2

China cut contacts with Taiwan’s government following the 2016 election of independence-minded President Tsai Ing-wen (pictured centre), who was re-elected this year, and has sought to isolate her diplomatically while ratcheting up political, military and economic pressure

After repeated questioning, Ma said his understanding was the decision was dictated by Taiwanese internal politics, citing unidentified media sources in Taiwan.

Ma also denied reports that the Chinese presenter had been asked to apologise for her statement that the Nationalist delegation was coming ‘begging for peace.’

The Nationalists have lost badly in the past two presidential elections, largely as a result of perceptions that they are too close to Beijing and willing to sell out Taiwan’s interests for political and economic gain. 

The party had run Taiwan for decades, partly under martial law, after Chiang Kai-shek moved it to the island following the Communist takeover of mainland China in 1949.

China has sought relentlessly to isolate the Tsai’s government even while she draws closer to key ally the United States. 

Beijing has whittled Taiwan’s roster of diplomatic allies down to just 15 and blocked its representatives from attending international gatherings, demanding that Tsai agree to recognise Taiwan as a part of Chinese territory.

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