By Ummul Idris
China has conducted further military exercises near Taiwan, in response to a recent stopover by the Taiwanese vice president in the United States on a state trip.
The Chinese military stated in a declaration on Saturday that these exercises were a “serious warning” to the “separatists” in Taiwan who are cooperating with foreign forces.
The drills focused on the coordination of ships and aircraft, testing their ability to control air and sea spaces.
The “actual combat capabilities” of the armed forces were also being tested.
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry condemned China’s “irrational provocative activities”.
Forces have been dispatched to defend the country’s freedom, democracy, and sovereignty, said the ministry.
In spite of warnings from China, Taiwan’s Vice President William Lai traveled to Paraguay via a stopover in New York a week ago.
He returned to Taiwan on Friday.
Beijing regards independently governed Taiwan as part of Chinese territory and threatens to take over the island by force if necessary.
China seeks to isolate Taiwan internationally and staunchly opposes official contacts between other countries and Taiwan.
Like most countries in the world, the U.S. does not have an embassy in Taiwan, although it has pledged millions in miltary aid for Taiwan’s defence.
China often carries out military exercises near Taiwan as a show of strength.
In April, Beijing responded with military exercises when Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen met with Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, during a stopover in the U.S. (dpa/NAN)