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China stages ‘strike drills’ around Taiwan, citing ‘provocation’ by US

Chinese fighter jets of the PLA Southern Theater Command taxi on the runway before taking off in the real-combat flight training, May 11, 2022. (File photo via China Military)

China has conducted fresh “strike drills” in the sea and airspace around Taiwan in response to “provocation” from the self-ruled island and the United States.

In a brief statement on Sunday, the Eastern Theatre Command of China's People's Liberation Army said it had carried out “joint combat readiness patrols and joint firepower strike drills” around Taiwan. “This is a resolute response to the current escalation of collusion and provocation from the United States and Taiwan.”

“Theatre forces will take all necessary measures to resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

On Saturday, Beijing condemned the United States for a new defense authorization law that boosts military assistance for Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken the United States must abandon the “old routine of unilateral bullying” and stop trying to suppress China’s development.

According to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang urged Washington to pay attention to China's legitimate concerns. The top Chinese diplomat warned Washington against trying to challenge China’s red lines using “salami slicing” tactics.

Wang said the two sides should focus on turning the consensus of the heads of the two countries into concrete actions.

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with US President Joe Biden at the G-2 summit in Bali, where important issues including Taiwan were discussed. It was their first face-to-face conversation since 2017..

China has sovereignty over Chinese Taipei, and under the "One China" policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty, meaning they would not establish direct diplomatic contact with the self-proclaimed government in Taipei.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory. Taiwan has complained of repeated Chinese military activity nearby over the past three years or so as Beijing seeks to pressure Taipei to accept Chinese sovereignty. China staged war games around Taiwan in August following a visit to Taipei by then US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Some US allies in Europe have also been increasing visits to Taipei, despite strong objections by Beijing.

The United States is Taiwan's most important international backer and arms supplier, despite the absence of formal diplomatic relations. US arms sales to Taiwan are a constant irritant in Beijing's relations with Washington.

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