The Big Story: China, US and Taiwan
China conducted military drills along its southeast coast on Sunday. This was after the US State Department approved the sale of arms worth US$ 2.2 billion to Taiwan last week.
The PLA announced that the military exercises were conducted of China’s “southeast coast” (the Taiwan Strait) and involved both air and naval forces. Both Beijing and Taipei downplayed the drills. China described it as, “a routine arrangements according to our plan.” However the drills were timed with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to the United States.
Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province and has warned the US not to cross its red lines by fostering formal relations with Taipei. It has repeatedly called the self-ruled island as an integral part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
It has also threatened to impose sanctions on the US companies who sold weapons to Taiwan in the past. Both People’s Daily and state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) posted an article on their official WeChat platforms criticising Honeywell, Oshkosh Corporation, General Dynamics and its subsidiary Gulfstream Aerospace for their involvement in the arms sale to Taiwan.
“Do not ever underestimate the firm will of the Chinese government and its people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity! Do not underestimate China’s strength as the world’s second-largest economy,” the article warned.
After the approval of the arms sale, The People’s Daily published an editorial criticising the US for interfering in China’s domestic issues. It has accused the US of undermining the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait. It also blamed the US for not abiding by the joint communique that was signed in 1982.
China has in recent years stepped up its military drills around Taiwan, including regularly flying what Beijing calls “island encirclement” exercises and sending warships into the waters around Taiwan.
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