Beijing, Oct 13 (EFE).- Military drills in the Taiwan Straits were needed to safeguard the national security of China, a Chinese official Wednesday said, amid growing tensions in the region.
“The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military drills are necessary to safeguard the national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told reporters.
He said the maneuvers targeted “interference of external forces” and “secessionist activities” of those who seek independence of Taiwan.
The spokesperson said the purpose of the drills, which include warplanes from China entering Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and mock assault in Fujian province, some 300 km from the island, was to protect “the overall interests of the Chinese nation and the vital interests of compatriots on both sides of the straits.”
Ma criticized Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who said Sunday that “force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us.”
“Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is doomed to fail in its futile attempt to seek ‘Taiwan independence’ in collusion with external forces,” Ma said.
He said the DPP authorities were making provocations, which caused the current tensions and turbulence across the Taiwan Strait.
The spokesperson dismissed the threats highlighted by Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng, who had, earlier this month, said that China would be “capable of organizing a large-scale invasion” of the island by 2025.
“By hyping up the so-called ‘military threat’ from the mainland, the DPP authorities are confounding right and wrong,” Ma said.
“Such lies cannot deceive compatriots across the Strait and the international community. If the DPP authorities persist in their wrong course and do not pull back from the precipice, it will only push Taiwan into a more dangerous situation.”
The Chinese and Taiwanese presidents reiterated over the weekend their positions on Beijing’s ambition to “reunify” the island.
China considers Taiwan a rebel province that must be reunified with the rest of the country.
Beijing has noted on several occasions that it intended to recover the territory by force if necessary.
Taiwan, officially called the Republic of China, has been a sovereign nation with its government and political system since the end of the civil war between nationalists and communists in 1949. EFE