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Iran Press TV

China says military drills near Taiwan were 'necessary' to defend sovereignty

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 13 August 2020 9:59 AM

China's military says recent military drills near Taiwan were "necessary action" to safeguard Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In a statement on Thursday, Zhang Chunhui, a spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), also said that the Chinese military would take any measure necessary to counter provocative actions that could result in Taiwan's independence from mainland China, the Global Times reported.

Zhang also said that "a certain major country" had been continuously making negative moves regarding Taiwan and sending the wrong signals to the advocates of independence in Taiwan – an apparent reference to the United States. Such moves, he said, severely threaten peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

The comments came shortly after US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar made a three-day trip to Taiwan on Sunday, the highest-level visit by a US official to the self-ruled island since 1979, when the region returned from British to Chinese rule and the United States recognized Chinese sovereignty over the island.

The visit was billed as an attempt to acquire Taiwan's experiences in containing its coronavirus epidemic. But it was widely seen as an attempt to unnerve Beijing.

Officials in self-ruled Taiwan's secessionist government used Azar's trip to attack China and accused Beijing of seeking to stifle freedoms in the region.

China has sovereignty over Taiwan; and under the "One China" policy, almost all world countries – including the United States – recognize that sovereignty.

Although Washington has no formal relations with Taipei, it is the island's largest weapons supplier and an avid backer of Taiwan's secessionist president Tsai Ing-wen.

China firmly opposes any official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan.

Relations between the United States and China have hit the lowest level in decades under Trump. The two countries are at loggerheads over a range of issues, including trade, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the South China Sea, and the coronavirus pandemic.

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