China says drills near Taiwan a message to US

1 month ago 28

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| Updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 17:58 [IST]

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Beijing, May 25: China on Wednesday announced it had held military operations near Taiwan during US President Joe Biden's first visit to Asia.

Biden had reiterated commitments to defend Taiwan during the visit, surprising some analysts and drawing strong condemnation from China.

China says drills near Taiwan a message to US

What has China's military been doing near Taiwan?

China says it has conducted joint patrol and combat readiness operations near Taiwan, just as the US leader was in Tokyo attending a meeting of leaders from India, Japan, and Australia, who together make up the "Quad".

In a statement posted on the Chinese Defense Ministry's website, the US was criticized for "hypocritical and useless" actions that supposedly emboldened Taiwan's pro-independence forces.

Taiwan is governed by a democratic administration in Taipei, but China regards it as an integral part of its territory under the so-called "One China" policy.

"Taiwan is a part of China. The troops of the PLA Eastern Theater Command have the resolution and capability to thwart any external forces' interference and secessionist attempts for 'Taiwan independence', and to firmly safeguard national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability," read a statement credited to Shi Yi, a spokesperson for the Chinese army's Eastern Theater Command.

At the same time, China said it had been conducting joint air patrols with Russia over the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea and the Western Pacific.

China said the exercises near Japan were not directed at any particular country, even though they coincided with Biden's visit.

That didn't wash with US officials, one of whom told the Reuters news agency that the moves showed China and Russia's relations remain strong despite Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

Multiple media outlets reported that these were the first joint exercises between Russian and Chinese military forces since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine on 24 February.

Rand Corporation analyst Derek Grossman told Reuters the drills were "clearly designed to signal Beijing's frustration with the Quad summit and all of President Biden's proceedings over the last few days."

Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said that the drills were "more provocative" than in the past, as they took place while the Quad was meeting.

China says drills near Taiwan a message to US

Would the US defend Taiwan if China attacked?

Biden said on Tuesday that the US would be willing to respond militarily if Taiwan came under attack, angering China by making these defense assurances explicit.

While some analysts suggested Biden may have misspoken, as the US has often tried to calm Chinese fears over their support for Taiwan, his comments were clear.

US policy is officially to recognize the One China policy, but to o...

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