China holds military drill as US warship sails through Taiwan Strait

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The Taiwan Strait is a channel separating the island of Taiwan and continental Asia…reports Asian Lite News

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command on Saturday said it has dispatched naval and air forces to conduct joint patrols and combat exercises in the waters and airspace southwest of Taiwan.

This comes after a US warship transited the Taiwan Straits. On Friday, the US 7th fleet released a statement saying a US warship, – the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry – sailed through the 180-kilometre-wide waterway.

The Taiwan Strait is a channel separating the island of Taiwan and continental Asia. The strait is in international waters, however, China claims Taiwan as its own territory and regards the US Navy’s presence in the area as a show of support for the island’s democratic government, Global Times reported.

PLA Eastern Theater Command Spokesperson Senior Colonel Shi Yi said on Saturday that the PLA has organized troops to follow, supervise and monitor the US ship throughout its passage in the Taiwan Straits. These frequent provocations fully prove that the US is undermining the peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits, and creating risks in the region.

“The troops of the command theatre remain on high alert all the time, and will firmly safeguard the security of national sovereignty and the peace and stability of the region,” Shi said in a statement released by the PLA Eastern Theater Command.

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Taiwan has full grasp’

Taiwan on Saturday said it has a “thorough grasp” of Chinese military exercise in waters off the island’s southwestern coast Friday.

Taiwan Ministry of Defence said it had a “thorough grasp and assessment” of China’s military exercise, potential security threats facing Taiwan, and the situation in the region, Focus Taiwan reported citing Taiwan’s Ministry of Defence.

The exercise came the same day as Taiwan concluded its annual Han Kuang military exercises and as a United States Navy ship transited the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan’s military wrapped up the five-day nationwide drills on Friday that involved all MND branches and are aimed at testing the country’s combat readiness in the face of a possible Chinese invasion.

In addition, the MND also reported that 10 PLA planes flew into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Friday and Taiwan’s air force responded by scrambling planes to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings, and mobilizing air defense assets.

Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.

Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that “Taiwan’s independence” means war.

On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to complete reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to smash any attempts at formal independence for the island. (ANI)

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