China flew warplanes near Taiwan after the leader’s visit to the US

BEIJING (AP) — China sent warships and dozens of warplanes toward Taiwan on Saturday in response to a meeting between the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and the president of the island democracy Beijing claims is self-governing, the Taiwanese government said. of its territory.

The Chinese military has announced it will begin three-day “combat readiness patrols” as a warning to Taiwanese who want to perpetuate the island’s de facto independence. The People’s Liberation Army did not indicate whether it would repeat previous exercises in which sea-launched missiles disrupted shipping and aviation.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy held talks with President Tsai Ing-wen In California on Thursday, he added to a series of foreign lawmakers who met with the tilt to show support in the face of Chinese threats. Beijing responded on Friday By imposing travel bans and financial sanctions against U.S. groups and individuals associated with Saiva’s U.S. travel.

On Saturday, eight warships and 71 aircraft were spotted near Taiwan, 45 of which flew over the equator that separates the strait from the mainland, the island’s defense ministry said. It said they included Chengdu J-10, Shenyang J-11 and Shenyang J-16 jet fighters.

On Saturday, the navy plans to conduct a “live-fire exercise” in Luoyuan Bay in Fujian province, opposite Taiwan, the local maritime authority announced. The ships were banned during the firing, which was scheduled to take place on five dates over the next two weeks.

Taiwan split with China in 1949 after a civil war. The ruling Communist Party says the island is forced to rejoin the mainland, if necessary by force. Beijing says contact with foreign officials emboldens Taiwanese who want formal independence, which the ruling party says could lead to war.

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“This is a serious warning against collusion and provocation between ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and external forces,” the PLA statement said. “Joint Sword” exercises “protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

According to The Global Times, a newspaper published by the Communist Party, it includes a destroyer, missile boats, ballistic missiles and land-based anti-ship missiles as well as early warning, electronic warfare and tanker aircraft. .

Taiwan’s military said missile defense systems had been activated and air and sea patrols had been dispatched to monitor the Chinese aircraft.

“We condemn such an irrational act that has undermined regional security and stability,” a Defense Ministry statement said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government has stepped up efforts to intimidate the island by flying nearby fighter jets and bombers and firing missiles into the sea.

The United States has no official relations with Taiwan, a center of high-tech industry and one of the largest global traders, but maintains extensive informal and business ties. Washington is required by federal law to ensure the island of 22 million people has the means to defend itself if China attacks.

During an attack, a possible Chinese strategy is to pressure Taiwan to surrender by blocking sea and air traffic, preventing the United States, Japan or other allies from intervening or sending supplies, military analysts say.

On Saturday, the PLA was testing its ability to dominate sea, air and information and “create a deterrence and suppression situation,” the main China Daily newspaper said.

Taiwan and the mainland have multi-billion dollar trade and investment ties but no official ties.

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“We will never tolerate ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist activities and will take firm measures to defeat any foreign interference,” Zhu Fenglian, spokesman for the cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

“The complete reunification of our country must be realized, and it can be realized without a doubt,” Zhu was quoted as saying on Friday.

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