PLA exercises send message on Taiwan
The People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theater Command recently carried out combat exercises in the Taiwan Straits and surrounding waters to verify and boost its interservice joint operation capability, a military spokesman said.
Units from multiple services took part in the exercises in the straits, including their northern and southern ends, Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, the command's spokesman, said in a statement published on Thursday afternoon. It did not give further details of the exercises.
Zhang said they were "a necessary move responding to the current security situation in the Taiwan Straits and were meant to safeguard national sovereignty". The statement did not use a description often employed to describe such operations: "a routine exercise included in the PLA's annual training plan".
He called Taiwan an indispensable part of China, adding that negative acts concerning Taiwan by some foreign nations recently had sent seriously misleading signals to separatist forces and posed a severe threat to regional peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.
The operation is an unambiguous warning to Taiwan secessionists and the forces behind them, unlike many previous PLA exercises that often have been described as "not aimed at any third party". The statement directly linked the drills to the current situation in the Taiwan Straits, and also made specific reference to adversaries.
Zhang said the Eastern Theater Command will stay on high alert and take all necessary measures to oppose provocations that aim at "Taiwan independence" and to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
At the most recent Defense Ministry news conference, on July 30, Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, a ministry spokesman, said that recent moves between the militaries of the United States and Taiwan, such as deploying US troops in exercises in Taiwan, gravely violated basic principles of international relations and US political commitments to China; brought strong negative impacts to diplomatic and military ties between China and the US as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits; and sent misleading signals to Taiwan secessionists.
He urged the US to correct its errors immediately, stop any form of official exchange or military ties with Taiwan and promise that such provocations will never be repeated again.
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