China announced military exercises around Taiwan on Wednesday, with US President Joe Biden saying Washington would intervene militarily if Beijing tried to reunite with the island by force.
Even after decades of separate rule, China continues to consider Taiwan as its province. Chinese President Xi Jinping has even threatened to occupy the island if necessary.
“The recent patrols and training exercises of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) around the island of Taiwan were a necessary step against collusion between Taiwan and the United States,” a Chinese defense spokesman was quoted as saying by Xinhua on Wednesday.
National Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefei said the PLA Eastern Theater Command recently organized a joint war-preparation alert patrol and combat training exercise involving multiple services and armed forces in the waters and airspace around the island of Taiwan.
“These are aimed at reconciliation between Taiwan and the United States, and necessary steps have been taken in line with the need to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Tan said.
Seeking “Taiwan’s independence” is destructive to failure, and therefore supporting such activities, Tan said, adding that the United States is endangering the situation by playing the “Taiwan card” to contain China.
The PLA is on high alert and is ready to take all necessary measures to “firmly thwart the intervention and separatist efforts of any external force for the independence of Taiwan.”
China’s harsh response came after Biden said on Monday that Washington was ready to be militarily involved in defending Taiwan in the event of an attack.
Biden met with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio on Monday to discuss progress on cooperation on bilateral, regional and global issues.
During a joint news conference with the Japanese prime minister, Biden reiterated Washington’s commitment to ensuring the security of the Taiwanese system and to unilaterally prevent any change in the status quo.
Asked if the United States was ready to take military action to protect Taiwan, he replied in the affirmative, adding that it was a promise the United States had made.
“We are committed to supporting peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. The United States is adamant that this should not happen with Japan and other countries (China occupying Taiwan),” he said.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)