China has started another military exercise around Taiwan
These exercises are Beijing’s angry response to the island nation’s vice president’s visit to the United States.
China has launched military exercises around Taiwan as a “serious ultimatum” to separatist forces, Beijing’s angry but widely expected response to Taiwanese Vice President William Lai’s visit to the United States, reports Reuters.
Lai, Taiwan’s presidential candidate in the January elections, returned from the United States on Friday. Officially, he traveled only to Paraguay, but on the way home he interrupted his trip in the United States, where he made several speeches.
China considers Taiwan to be its territory, despite the strong objections of the island’s government.
The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army said in a brief statement that they are conducting a joint naval and air combat readiness patrol around the island.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said it had detected 42 Chinese aircraft and eight ships participating in exercises around the island as of Saturday morning, and put ships and aircraft on alert in response.
The ministry said in a statement that 26 Chinese aircraft crossed the central line of the 100-kilometre-wide Taiwan Strait and the areas beyond both ends of the line. For decades, the line served as an unofficial dividing line between the two armies.
China considers Lai’s US attempt “shameless” because he is using unfair means to win Taiwan’s elections.
The United States, like most countries, does not have official relations with Taiwan. However, US President Joe Biden has repeatedly stressed his willingness to offer protection to Taiwan if China attacks it.