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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

China maneuvers around Taiwan during US senator’s visit

The printed flags of Chinese and Taiwan are seen in this illustration taken on April 28, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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BEIJING/TAIPEI, July 8 (Reuters) – China’s military said on Friday it recently conducted joint war preparedness exercises, patrols and combat exercises in the sea and airspace around Taiwan, as a senior US senator told President Tsai Ing. Visited Taipei for meeting with. Wayne

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, prohibits any official talks between US and Taiwanese officials and regularly describes Taiwan as the most sensitive and important issue in its relationship with Washington. .

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in a statement that the exercises announced by the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army were conducted in response to “collusion and provocation” by the United States and Taiwan.

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Several Chinese fighter jets crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait on Friday in the northern part of the waterway, a Taiwanese source told Reuters, adding that the plane did not enter Taiwan’s airspace.

The source said it was rare for Chinese aircraft to cross the unofficial buffer, especially from the northwest of Taiwan.

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The plane “flighted straight” across the midline and then “circled around” while carrying out tactical missions, the person said, adding Taiwanese fighter jets to intercept Chinese aircraft.

“It was a clear message of provocation,” the person said, citing a visit to Taipei by US Senator Rick Scott, a senior Republican who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee and sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Taiwan’s air force said it had a “full understanding” of the situation in the region and was “actively” protecting national security. It did not elaborate.

Chinese spokesman Wu said Scott’s visit to Taiwan seriously undermined Sino-US ties and increased tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is prepared for war at all times, and will take all necessary measures to completely thwart the interference of external forces and separatist efforts for ‘Taiwan independence’, and firmly defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” “

After meeting with President Tsai in Taipei on Friday, Scott told reporters he believed “the world has changed” following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine.

“We all have to put ourselves in a position to make sure we protect the freedom we all believe in,” he said. “I think it would be helpful if Taiwan participated in RIMPAC and I hope to do so in the future.”

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The Rim of the Pacific exercise, known as RIMPAC, is billed as the world’s largest international maritime exercise, with 26 countries participating in the exercise around Hawaii and Southern California late last month was.

Taiwan’s government condemned China’s military and political pressure to force it to accept Chinese sovereignty over the island, saying only 23 million people can decide their future.

“Taiwan will continue to work closely with the United States to jointly protect the stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region,” Tsai told Scott.

US-China tensions are high over a range of issues, including China’s refusal to openly criticize Russian leader Putin over Taiwan, the South China Sea, trade tariffs and the war in Ukraine.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is scheduled to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bali on Saturday.

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Beijing Newsroom, reporting by Ben Blanchard and Martin Quinn Pollard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Kim Coghilla

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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