Beijing, Aug 17 (EFE).-Taiwan’s Defense Ministry spokesperson Shi Shunwen said Tuesday that their armed forces were ready to respond appropriately to the military maneuvers in the south of the island announced by Beijing.
Earlier during the day, Shi Yi, spokesperson of the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command, announced the sending of Chinese warships and combat and anti-submarine aircraft near the southeast and southwest coasts of Taiwan to test its “integrated operational capability.”
The statement, published on the Chinese social network Wechat, claimed that the maneuvers were in response to “provocations” by the United States and Taiwan that supposedly infringed China’s sovereignty and were “the largest source of trouble” in the Taiwan Strait.
She stressed the military exercises were measures to strengthen combat readiness in response to the supposed separatist forces in Taiwan.
In early August, the US State Department approved the sale of $750 million of weapons to Taiwan, which China described as an interference in its internal affairs.
Since 2016, Taiwan has bought more than $16.7 billion worth of weapons from the US to defend itself against a possible attack by China.
Meanwhile, China, despite declaring its intention for a peaceful reunification with Taiwan, has not ruled out the use of force to achieve its goal.
In June, the island’s authorities reported that 28 Chinese fighter jets entered its Air Defense Identification Zone.
The tension has also spread to the diplomatic arena recently.
On Aug.10, Beijing recalled its ambassador to Lithuania for consultations after Taiwan announced in July the opening of a representative office in Vilnius.
Amid the military maneuvers near Taiwan, official Chinese media such as the Global Times pointed to the US’s supposed abandonment of Afghanistan, and warned Taiwan that the US could not be trusted as a defense partner.
Taiwan – where the Chinese nationalist army withdrew after their defeat at the hands of Communist troops in the civil war – has ruled autonomously since 1949, although China claims sovereignty over the island, considering it a rebel province. EFE