China announced Monday it would continue to carry out major military exercises in areas around Taiwan.
Several rounds of air and sea exercises were launched by China’s military last week. The exercises followed a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They were expected to end on Sunday.
But China’s Eastern Theater Command announced on social media Monday it had ordered more military exercises, or drills, in areas surrounding Taiwan. The new exercises were to center on anti-submarine drills and other sea military operations.
So far, the drills have included missile strikes, warplane exercises and ship movements around the Taiwan Strait. The strait separates China from the island of Taiwan. Chinese military officials have said the exercises were being held to show opposition to Pelosi’s visit.
China considers Taiwan a rebel territory. Chinese officials have said the government plans to one day reclaim the territory and may use force to do so. Taiwan rejects Beijing’s territorial claims.
The United States has observed what it called a “one-China policy” for many years. Under the policy, the U.S. recognizes the Chinese government in Beijing. But the U.S. keeps informal relations and defense ties with Taiwan.
China has repeatedly criticized Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. It has also ignored calls by the U.S. to calm tensions caused by the military exercises.
On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China would continue to take measures to “safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Taiwan's foreign ministry condemned the continuing exercises as an attempt by China to increase tensions. A ministry statement called on China to stop the drills and "pull back from the edge."
"In the face of military intimidation created by China, Taiwan will not be afraid nor back down…” the statement said.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said Sunday it had identified a total of 66 aircraft and 14 warships taking part in the naval and air exercises. The island has put its own military on alert and deployed ships and planes to watch Chinese military movements.
Taiwan’s official Central News Agency reported the country’s army would carry out live-fire artillery drills as a reaction to the Chinese exercises. Those drills were expected to take place Tuesday and Thursday in Taiwan’s southern Pingtung county.
U.S. President Joe Biden said Monday that he was not worried about the immediate safety of Taiwan. But he did express concern about China's ongoing actions in the area.
"I'm concerned they are moving as much as they are," Biden told reporters in Delaware. "But I don't think they're going to do anything more than they are."
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Reuters and The Associated Press reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the reports for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
sovereignty – n. the power of a country to control its own government
integrity – n. honesty and the ability to do or know what is morally right
intimidate – v. to intentionally frighten, especially with threats
alert – n. a warning issued to deal with a possibly dangerous situation
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