- China’s military claimed that its troops are “ready to fight at all times”
- China’s People’s Liberation Army earlier stated that its drills were a “stern warning” to Taiwan
- The White House expressed confidence that it can defend Taiwan and U.S. interests in the region
China showcased its troop readiness to smash Taiwan’s independence claims after completing three days of large-scale military drills around the self-ruled island.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted its “Joint Sword” military drills between Friday and Monday in response to the meeting between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen and U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California last week.
“The theater’s troops are ready to fight at all times and can fight at any time to resolutely smash any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ and foreign interference attempts,” China’s military said Monday, the Associated Press reported.
The PLA earlier stated that its military exercises were a “stern warning” to those who advocate Taiwan’s independence and to the countries supporting the island.
“These operations serve as a stern warning against the collusion between separatist forces seeking ‘Taiwan independence’ and external forces and against their provocative activities. The operations are necessary for safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” PLA spokesperson Shi Yin said.
On Thursday, the White House vowed to protect Taiwan and U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific region amid the continued Chinese military aggression.
“We’re very comfortable and confident that we have in place, in the region, sufficient resources and capabilities to protect our national security interests in the Indo-Pacific,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, according to Fox News.
Kirby added that he doesn’t see any reason for tensions across the Taiwan Strait to escalate further.
China’s recent military drills included simulations encircling Taiwan and attacking its key targets on the island, which infuriated the Taiwanese defense ministry.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said the Chinese military activities “seriously undermined peace, stability and security in the region.”
Taiwan also expressed concern after it spotted 70 Chinese military aircraft and 11 naval ships around the island Sunday.
Of those reported Chinese aircraft, 35 of them entered the island’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), including fighter and bomber jets, anti-submarine warfare aircraft, electronic warfare planes, early warning aircraft and an aerial refueling aircraft.
The Chinese intrusion in Taiwan’s ADIZ forced the island’s defense ministry to dispatch its combat patrol aircraft, naval vessels and air defense missile systems.
Tensions between China and Taiwan flared anew after Tsai met McCarthy despite Beijing’s repeated warnings and protests against it.
The Republican House Speaker called the Taiwanese leader “a great friend to America” while underscoring the importance of working together to safeguard freedom and democracy in Asia.