China holds war drills near Taiwan in ‘stern warning’ after Biden remarks
Beijing, May 25 (EFE).- Chinese army Wednesday said that it conducted a combat-readiness patrol in the waters and airspace around Taiwan in response to President Joe Biden’s remarks that the United States would militarily intervene if Beijing attempted to annex the island by force.
“The Eastern Theater Command (ETC) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) recently organized a joint combat-readiness patrol and real-combat training exercises, involving multiple services and arms in the waters and airspace around the Taiwan Island,” military spokesperson Colonel Shi Yi said in a statement.
Shi said the drills were a “stern warning” against the recent “collusion activities between the US and the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”
“It is hypocritical and useless for the US to take the quite opposite actions against its words and to frequently embolden the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” the spokesperson said.
“The acts by the US side will only lead to a dangerous situation and bring serious consequences to itself.”
The spokesperson emphasized that Taiwan was part of China” and the Chinese troops had the capability to thwart any external “interference and secessionist attempts for ‘Taiwan independence.’
Biden said Monday that the US military would militarily intervene if China tried to annex Taiwan by force.
“That is the commitment we made,” he said at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo.
China reacted sharply to Biden’s remarks, saying the US was “playing with fire.”
Chinese State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Zhu Fenglian said Washington was “using the ‘Taiwan card’ to contain China, and will itself get burned.”
She urged the US “to stop any remarks or actions” that violate principles of ties between the two countries.
It was for the first time in recent times a US president so explicitly talked about a possible US military intervention if China were to invade Taiwan, governed autonomously since 1949.
The island was the refuge of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) forces after losing the civil war with the Communists, who, since then, have claimed sovereignty over the territory.
In 1979, Washington broke its official diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing. However, the American Institute in Taiwan operates as a de facto embassy in Taipei.
The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act necessitates the US to ensure Taiwan has military resources to defend itself from any external invasion.
The US and China engaged in a similar war of words over Taiwan in October last year after Biden announced an explicit “commitment” to defend the island in case of a Chinese invasion.
The island is also one of the primary sources of the conflict between China and the US, mainly because Washington is Taiwan’s biggest arms supplier. EFE