In this file photo taken May 25, 2018, by the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense, a Taiwanese Air Force fighter aircraft, left, flies near a Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force bomber that reportedly flew over the Luzon Strait south of Taiwan.
The Chinese military said on Wednesday it had recently carried out a combat "readiness patrol" in the seas and airspace around Taiwan.
In a statement, the People's Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command said the patrol was "a necessary action against U.S.-Taiwan collusion."
The command said the United States often “made moves” to support “Taiwan independence forces, which will push Taiwan into a dangerous situation.”
China claims self-governing Taiwan as its own territory. Over the past few years, mainland forces have increased their military activities around the island to pressure Taiwan to accept its sovereignty claims.
Unhappy with U.S. support for Taiwan
China has been especially unhappy with U.S. support for Taiwan. Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden held a news conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Biden said “yes” when a reporter asked if he was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if China invaded.
The comment angered China, as the American president appeared to signal a change in U.S. policy toward Taiwan. The policy, under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, does not require the U.S. to intervene militarily to defend Taiwan if China invades. But the treaty says American policy is to make sure Taiwan has the resources to defend itself.
On Wednesday, the Chinese military command re-stated that Taiwan is part of China. It said Chinese troops continue to strengthen military training and preparations to “thwart” interference from outside forces and actions by those who support Taiwan independence. To thwart means to prevent something from happening.
The statement did not say when the patrol happened. But Taiwan reported on Monday that 30 Chinese military aircrafts entered its air defense zone. That was the largest number of aircrafts to reach the zone since January.
Taiwan’s air force warned the planes away. No shots were fired. However, Taiwan’s missile systems were deployed to follow the activities.
On Tuesday, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen met with U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth in Taipei. Tsai said after the meeting that the U.S. is planning on "cooperation" between its National Guard and Taiwan's military. She did not provide any details.
U.S. to hold naval exercises
Also on Tuesday, the U.S. announced it was planning the world’s largest naval exercises in the Pacific Ocean. The exercises, or war games, will include 38 surface ships, four submarines, 170 aircrafts and 25,000 personnel from 26 countries.
The exercises will run from June 29 to August 4. Among those taking part are members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue: India, Japan, and Australia. The games also include the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, which have competing claims against China in the South China Sea.
Words in This Story
combat - n. fighting in a war
patrol - n. the act of going around and through an area to make sure it is safe
collusion - n. secret cooperation for an illegal or dishonest purpose
sovereignty - n. a country's independent authority and the right to govern itself