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China says military exercises near Taiwan ‘solemn warning’

A Chinese Jin-class nuclear submarine participates in a naval parade in the sea near Qingdao, in eastern China’s Shandong Province, on April 23, 2019. (File photo by AFP)

China says its military exercises near Taiwan are a “solemn warning” to secessionist factions in the self-ruled island and their foreign supporters.

The drills “solemnly warn external forces to stop interference and sternly warn... separatist forces to stop provocations,” Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said on Wednesday.

She also stressed that China reserved the right to “take all measures” to protect its sovereignty, including the use of force.

Zhu’s remarks came after the administration of new US President Joe Biden expressed strong support for Taiwan.

On Saturday, Taiwan reported that China had sent multiple bombers, fighter jets, and anti-submarine aircraft to what Taipei called its air defense zone.

Later in the day, the US State Department said it was concerned by China’s “pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan,” adding that Washington’s commitment to the self-ruled island was “rock-solid.”

The Chinese spokeswoman reminded the US that the Taiwan issue was the “most important and sensitive core issue in China-US relations.”

Taiwan is a self-ruled territory subject to Chinese sovereignty. But it has been defying Beijing under its current government, and the United States has been courting Taipei in an attempted affront to China and in violation of the “One China” policy, under which all countries — the United States included — officially recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.

Earlier in January, the administration of former US president Donald Trump lifted the decades-long ban on diplomatic ties with Taiwanese officials in a last-ditch effort to challenge China’s sovereignty over Taiwan.

China has repeatedly warned the US against official ties with Taiwan.

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