Taiwan accuses China of ‘blocking’ it with its military maneuvers

Update 1: Adds Taiwan’s military maneuver accusation, changes headline

Beijing, Aug 3 (EFE).- Taiwan’s Defense Ministry accused China of “seriously violating” its “rights and territorial sovereignty” Wednesday with military maneuvers it announced for this week in waters near the island, amounting to an “air and sea blockade.”

“We strongly condemn the military exercises,” Yu Jian-chang, the Defense Ministry’s Law, Judicial Affairs deputy director, told Taiwanese state news agency CNA.

Beijing’s actions “are in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Sea,” Yu said.

Hours earlier, the ministry had already condemned China’s maneuvers in a statement, adding that they are “an attempt to threaten the main ports and metropolitan areas of the island.”

China’s military, through state news agency Xinhua, published the plans for the military exercises just minutes after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed Tuesday night in Taipei.

The maneuvers, which will begin Thursday, will include live fire practices and will include the closure of maritime and air space in the areas where they are carried out.

According to a map provided by Xinhua, one of the areas where the maneuvers will take place is about 20 kilometers from the coast of Kaohsiung, the main city in southern Taiwan.

Taiwanese Defense Ministry described the exercises as a “unilateral effort to undermine regional peace and stability”, while warning that they “will not help China’s international image.”

Taiwanese forces “will respond to any action,” the ministry said.

Pelosi, the third US authority and second in line to succession to the White House, visited Taiwan’s parliament Wednesday morning and later met with the island’s President Tsai Ing-wen, who gave her an award for her “support” to the territory.

The trip outraged Beijing, which described it as a “deplorable betrayal” and to which it has responded with the military maneuvers and economic sanctions against the island.

China claims sovereignty over the island and has considered Taiwan a rebellious province since the Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the civil war against the communists.

China’s foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador to the country to lodge “stern representations and strong protests” over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, Xinhua reported Wednesday.

Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng summoned Nicholas Burns late on Tuesday night and told him “Pelosi risks universal condemnation to deliberately provoke and play with fire,” Xinhua said.

Xie described the visit as a serious violation of the “one-China” principle and said that it “has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations, and seriously infringes on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” adding that it “gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the agency reported.

“The move is extremely egregious in nature and the consequences are extremely serious. China will not sit idly by,” Xie added, stressing that the US must be held accountable for having said one thing and doing another with regard to the “one-China” principle. EFE


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