Wednesday, April 24, 2024

China warns US over ‘wanton provocation’, holds drills around Taiwan

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A senior Chinese general warned his US counterpart that any “wanton” act of provocation will be met with “firm countermeasures” even as the Chinese military on Friday conducted large-scale drills around Taiwan in response to an American senator’s visit to the island.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted large-scale drills, comprising of cross-service joint alert patrol and “realistic combat-scenario exercises in maritime and aerial spaces around the Taiwan Strait”, the eastern theatre command said in a statement on Friday.

The drill appeared to be a warning to the US over senator Rick Scott’s three-day visit to Taiwan, during which he is expected to meet President Tsai Ing-wen.

Beijing views the self-governed island as Chinese territory and has not ruled out using force to reclaim it.

The PLA has intensified military exercises around the island, blaming the US for ratcheting up tension in the region by selling arms and sending official delegations to Taipei.

“The US has been making repeated moves over the Taiwan question and sending support to the ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionist forces, which is a completely futile move that can only disrupt peace and escalate tensions in the Taiwan Straits,” Senior Colonel Shi Yi, a PLA spokesperson said in the statement on Friday.

This comes even as General Li Zuocheng – who is a member of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) and chief of the CMC joint staff department – and US General Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, interacted via video link on Thursday.

On issues concerning China’s core interests, there is no room for compromise or concession, and if anyone “wantonly provokes”, they will surely meet the firm countermeasures of the Chinese people, Li told Milley, according to an official Chinese statement.

“The Chinese military will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.

The two militaries should adopt an “objective and rational attitude of mutual respect”; further strengthen dialogue; manage risks; and promote cooperation, rather than deliberately creating confrontation, stirring up troubles or excluding each other, Li said in what appeared to be a reference to the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) – a grouping that also includes India.

Milley, according to a statement from the US side, talked about managing competition and keeping lines of communication open.

“Gen. Milley discussed the need to responsibly manage competition and maintain open lines of communication,” Milley’s spokesperson said in a statement.

The US general underscored the importance of PLA’s “engaging in substantive dialogue on improving crisis communications and reducing strategic risk,” the statement said, adding their conversation also included a “productive discussion of a number of regional and global security issues”.China warns US over ‘wanton provocation’, holds drills around Taiwan

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