China's armed forces not ready to invade Taiwan says Hodges
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It is part of Beijing’s furious reaction to the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan on Wednesday. China’s Foreign Ministry also announced that it was stopping exchanges with the US on preventing cross-border crime and drug trafficking.
It is a move that Washington has blasted as “irresponsible.”
In response to Ms Pelosi’s visit to the self governing island that China considers its territory Beijing launched military drills at sea and in the sky on Thursday.
The drills which are the largest conducted by China in the Taiwan Strait are due to continue until noon on Sunday.
On Friday, Taiwan’s defence ministry said that it had scrambled jets to warn away Chinese aircraft that had entered the island’s air defence zone.
Some of the aircraft had crossed the Taiwan Strait median line, an unofficial buffer that separates the two sides.
The ministry said that 68 Chinese military aircraft and 13 navy ships had been present in the strait.
China’s Eastern Theatre Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said in a statement that it had conducted air and sea drills “to test the troops’ joint combat capabilities.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken argued that Washington has repeatedly made it clear to Beijing that it does not want to create a crisis over Ms Pelosi’s visit.
Speaking at a news conference in Cambodia Mr Blinken branded China’s response as “extreme”.
He said: “There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalatory military response.
“Now, they’ve taken dangerous acts to a new level.”
Mr Blinken added that the US would not act to provoke the crisis however it would support regional allies as well as conducting aim and maritime transmissions through the Taiwan Strait
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“We will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” he said.
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told a media briefing that Washington should not act “rashly” and provoke a greater crisis.
He said: “I heard that U.S. Secretary of State Blinken held his news conference and spread some misinformation and was not speaking truthfully.
“We wish to issue a warning to the United States: Do not act rashly, do not create a greater crisis.”
Jing Quan, a senior Chinese Embassy official in Washington said that the US needed to act immediately and apologise for Ms Pelosi’s visit.
He said: “The only way out of this crisis is that the US side must take measures immediately to rectify its mistakes and eliminate the grave impact of Pelosi’s visit.”
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