US sees Chinese “provocations” in military exercises around…

US sees Chinese “provocations” in military exercises around…
US sees Chinese “provocations” in military exercises around…

Bloomberg Line — The US State Department accused China of “military provocations” for conducting expansive military exercises across Taiwan following the inauguration of President Lai Ching-te.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 111 Chinese aircraft and dozens of warships surrounded the self-ruled island over the past two days. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the United States is “deeply concerned.”

“We strongly urge Beijing to exercise restraint”, he said in a statement on Saturday. “Using a normal, routine, democratic transition as an excuse for military provocations risks escalation and erodes long-standing norms that for decades have maintained peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

See +: China holds its largest military exercises in a year near Taiwan, says they are a “strong punishment”

Beijing has expressed its discontent with the new government in Taipei, accusing Lai of seeking independence and destabilizing the region. China’s drills were the largest in Taiwan in a year.

State CCTV reported Saturday that the Chinese military has “Successfully completed all missions directed against Taiwan.

The drills ushered in a “new era of normalized practices,” said Zhang Chi, an associate professor at the National Defense University of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, in an interview with CCTV. “The PLA will step forward every time Taiwanese separatists carry out a provocative act,” Zhang said.

In Washington, the Pentagon said it “remains confident in the current U.S. force posture and operations in the Indo-Pacific region” and has “communicated concerns” about the Chinese exercises.

The exercises were intended “serve as a strong punishment for the separatist acts of the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” Chinese news agency Xinhua reported, citing a military spokesman.

“China’s recent unilateral military provocations have not only undermined the status quo of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, but also openly provoked the international order and aroused serious concern and condemnation from the international community,” the statement said. Taiwanese presidential spokesperson Karen Kuo said in a statement Saturday.

Taipei calls on China to “assume global responsibility towards Taiwan and work to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region,” he said.

See +: Is Taiwan a country? Is it owned by China or not? We explain

The drills add to the complications Lai faces, including a divisive campaign by rival parliamentarians to rein in the president’s powers. The opposition is pushing for changes to the law that would expand lawmakers’ ability to investigate the government, which brought thousands of people to the streets in protest.

Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the legislature in Taipei on Friday night to protest the bill, while smaller demonstrations were reported in other cities around the island of 23 million people.

The opposition Kuomintang, China’s preferred negotiating partner in the chipmaking hub, had pushed to finalize the amendments on Friday.

The president’s party was able to delay the passage of the bill, ensuring that it was not approved before the meeting adjourned around 11:30 p.m. local time.

Crowds are expected to gather again on Tuesday, when the parliamentary session on the bill is scheduled to resume. There were no protests outside the legislature on Saturday.

 
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