China has begun three days of mil
itary exercises around Taiwan amid anger in Beijing over Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting in California with the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own and has not ruled out the use of force to achieve its aims, will hold “combat readiness patrols” until April 10, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said in a brief statement on Saturday.
The drills, dubbed United Sharp Sword, involve exercises in the Taiwan Strait to the north and south of the island as well as in the sea and airspace to its east.
“This is a serious warning to the Taiwan independence separatist forces and external forces’ collusion and provocation, and it is a necessary action to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the PLA said.
Tsai met McCarthy on the return leg of a tour of the self-ruled island’s two remaining formal allies in Central America and arrived home on Friday.
Beijing had threatened retaliation even before the meeting took place. The Shandong aircraft carrier was spotted sailing through Taiwan’s southeastern waters on its way to the western Pacific hours before the meeting was scheduled on Wednesday.
China was using Tsai’s US visit “as an excuse to carry out military exercises, which has seriously damaged regional peace, stability and security”, the ministry said in a statement.
“The military will respond with a calm, rational and serious attitude, and will stand guard and monitor in accordance with the principles of ‘not escalating nor disputes’ to defend national sovereignty and national security.”
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said it was monitoring the situation and would respond appropriately to defend the island’s security.