China begins military exercises near Taiwan during US visit

Beijing, Apr 15 (EFE).- China began military exercises Thursday that will last six days in southwest Taiwan, as a United States delegation visits the island.

The Maritime Security Administration of China published a statement on its website Wednesday in which it prohibited any vessel from entering the designated area, where tests with live ammunition will be carried out.

According to the source, the maneuvers will be carried out between 08:00 and 18:00 local time (00:00 and 10:00 GMT) every day between Apr. 15 and Apr. 20, in the Nanpeng archipelago, belonging to the southeast Chinese province of Canton in the Taiwan Strait.

These maneuvers occur as former US Senator Chris Dodd and former Deputy Secretaries of State Richard Armitage and James Steinberg visit Taiwan, having landed on the island Wednesday, fuelling tension between Beijing and Washington.

In recent weeks, Taiwan has detected a growing number of incursions — both in frequency and volume — by Chinese military aircraft into its air defense identification zone.

Tensions between China and the United States increased considerably during the term of former US President Donald Trump, who prioritized strengthening relations with Taiwan, including arms sales, despite the fact that in 1979 Washington broke off relations with Taipei.

Taiwan has been governed autonomously since 1949 — when the Kuomintang nationalists took refuge on the island, after losing the civil war against the communists — although Beijing claims sovereignty over it and has not ruled out the use of force to regain it. EFE


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