China again holds combat drills around Taiwan, Taipei slams Beijing?

China conducted another round military combat drills near Taiwan, according to the Eastern Theatre Command (People’s Liberation Army) in a statement on Sunday. It stated that its forces had conducted “joint combat ready patrols and actual battle drills” in Taiwan’s sea and airspace, with a focus on land strikes and sea attacks.

China views democratically-governed Taiwan as its own territory. China is increasing its political, military and economic pressure in order to further its claims.

The drills were designed to evaluate joint combat capabilities, and to “resolutely confront the provocative acts of external forces as well as Taiwan independence separatist force forces”, it said.

Taiwan attacked China Monday for hosting its second military drills around Taiwan in less than a year. The defense ministry claimed that it had detected 57 Chinese planes and four navy vessels around the island within the last 24 hours. 28 of these aircraft flew into Taiwan’s air defense zone.

Some of them crossed the Taiwan Strait median, an unofficial buffer that separates the two sides. Two Su-30 and J-16 fighters were among the invaders. Two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers flew south to Taiwan, according to a ministry map.

Taiwan’s presidential office condemned the drills. It said China was making “groundless charges”. It stated that Taiwan and China were jointly responsible to the peace and stability in Taiwan Strait.

According to the office, Taiwan’s position was very clear. It will not provoke or escalate conflict, but it will stand firm in defense of its sovereignty and security.

“The nation’s army has a good understanding of the situation in Taiwan Strait, the surrounding area, and responds calmly. “Our people can be assured,” it said.

Taiwan declared that 43 Chinese aircraft had exceeded the median line during a similar exercise last month.

China has been making regular military incursions in the airspace and waterways near Taiwan for the past three year. The US House of Representatives’ speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2012. It then held war games.

Taiwan strongly rejects Beijing’s claims of sovereignty, stating that only the 23 million inhabitants of Taiwan can determine their future.

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