China holds army drill as US envoy visits Taiwan

A file photo of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army warship Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A file photograph of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army warship

China says it’s conducting army workouts near the Taiwan Strait to “protect its sovereignty” whilst a prime US official visits Taiwan.

The live-fire drills come amid rising tensions between Beijing and Washington, and because the US strikes to shore up its assist of the island.

China regards self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province.

Keith Krach is the highest-level official from the US State Department to go to the island in many years.

On Friday, China’s defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang accused the US and Taiwan of “stepping up collusion, frequently causing disturbances”, though he didn’t make any reference to the go to.

He advised reporters that “using Taiwan to control China” or attempting to “rely on foreigners to build oneself up” was wishful considering.

“Those who play with fire will get burnt,” he mentioned.

Mr Ren didn’t give particulars in regards to the army train, which entails the People’s Liberation Army’s jap theatre command, however described them as “legitimate and necessary for the mainland to protect its sovereignty and integrity”.

They observe two days of large-scale Chinese drills off Taiwan’s southwestern coast final week.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Keith Krach arrived in Taipei on Thursday

Washington mentioned Mr Krach, who’s the US undersecretary of financial affairs, was visiting Taiwan to attend a memorial service for late president Lee Teng-hui on Saturday.

Later on Friday he’s scheduled to fulfill Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen for dinner at her official residence. However, there aren’t any open media occasions on his agenda.

The go to comes at a time US-China relations have plummeted to their lowest level in years.

The two nations have been locked in a bitter commerce warfare since 2018, clashed over the coronavirus pandemic and traded accusations of espionage with mounting arrests of suspected Chinese spies within the US in current months.

The souring relations have additionally affected different areas, together with a US clampdown on China’s tech companies and the revoking of Chinese scholar visas.

Although the US doesn’t have a proper diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act permits it to promote arms to the island, and commits it to “close relations”.

When a US cupboard member met President Tsai in Taipei final month China responded angrily.

“We urge the US… not to send any wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ elements to avoid severe damage to China-US relations,” a overseas ministry spokesman mentioned on the time.