Taiwan calls China’s military maneuvers ‘irrational provocation’

Beijing, Aug 19 (EFE).- Taiwan’s defense ministry said it condemned the joint air and sea military maneuvers China began Saturday around the island, calling them a provocation in a statement on its website.

The Ministry said it would “send adequate forces to deal with the situation” and “defend the freedom, democracy and sovereignty” of the territory with concrete actions.

It said in recent years that China has “continuously sent planes and ships to harass Taiwan.”

The Ministry said the Taiwanese military is “ready and willing to fight to ensure national security.”

The agency reported the incursion of seven Chinese planes and seven military ships Saturday in areas around Taiwan until 6:00 a.m. local time (22:00 GMT on Friday).

According to the ministry, Taipei responded by fine-tuning its missile systems and monitoring by the armed forces of raids by Chinese planes and ships, which have become routine in recent months.

Chinese Colonel Shi Yi said the maneuvers are taking place in the area adjacent to Taiwan, and include the participation of “combat ships and aircraft,” which “practice coordination among themselves” and “control of air and sea space.”

China said it condemned the actions of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party by “colluding” with the United States, referring to the stops made in recent days by Taiwanese Vice President William Lai in the country.

Lai, the party’s candidate for Taiwan’s upcoming presidential elections, returned Friday to Taipei after visiting Paraguay – one of the 13 countries that maintain official ties with Taiwan and the only one in South America – and twice stopping in the US in the process.

China also conducted military exercises in April around the island when Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visited the US in transit on her way to and from Central America.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, a territory it considers a “rebel province” since Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the war against the communist army.

The self-governing island is one of the main sources of friction between China and the US, since Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and would defend it in the event of a conflict. EFE


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