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Interservice exercises held near Taiwan

By ZHAO LEI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-04-16 08:43
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PLA takes action in response to recent provocations by the United States

The People's Liberation Army organized interservice combat exercises near Taiwan on Friday in response to recent provocations by the United States surrounding the Taiwan question, according to a military spokesman.

Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesman for the PLA Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement that the command has sent its naval ships, fighter jets, bomber aircraft and other forces to carry out combat patrols and assault exercises on Friday in the air and waters in the East China Sea and near Taiwan.

"This operation was arranged in response to the US' 'wrong signals' about the Taiwan question that it released frequently in recent days," he said. "The US' malicious acts and attempts are useless and dangerous. Whoever plays with fire will eventually get burned."

The officer said the command is always ready to safeguard the nation's sovereignty and security, as well as regional peace and stability.

The exercises came amid the ongoing visit to Taiwan by six lawmakers of both chambers of the US Congress.

The congressional delegation-led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican serving as a ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee-arrived in Taiwan on Thursday on an unannounced trip with a tight schedule that includes a meeting with Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen.

Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, said on Friday that the US lawmakers made their provocative visit to Taiwan despite China's strong opposition.

He stressed that the move has gravely violated the US side's one-China policy and the three Sino-US joint communiques, seriously damaged the political foundation of the bilateral relations, and resulted in further escalation in the situation across the Taiwan Straits.

"The US side keeps sending wrong messages to the 'Taiwan secessionist force' while continuing to reiterate its commitment to us that it doesn't support 'Taiwan independence'. This is exceptionally hypocritical and perfidious," Wu said, adding that China has lodged solemn representations to the US.

The spokesman said China will never tolerate foreign interference in the Taiwan question. The exercises carried out by the PLA Eastern Theater Command were a necessary measure to protect the national sovereignty in accordance with the current security situation in the Taiwan Straits, he noted.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Zhao Lijian, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that China firmly opposes any form of official exchanges between the US and Taiwan, and the US Congress members should follow the one-China policy and the three joint communiques and must not talk irresponsibly in this regard.

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