China launches military drills around Taiwan

The Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command announced the drills Saturday, describing them as “a serious warning against the Taiwan separatist forces’ collusion with external forces, and a necessary move to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The exercises, dubbed “United Sharp Sword,” would feature “combat ready patrols and exercises in and around the Taiwan Strait, and to the north, south, and east of Taiwan and the sea and airspace as planned,” Senior Colonel Shi Yi of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Eastern Theater Command said in a statement on Saturday.
The drills would focus on the country’s “capabilities to seize control of sea, air, and information under the support of our joint combat system,” said the PLA.
Soon after the announcement by China, Taiwan’s defense ministry said it had detected a total of 42 Chinese warplanes over the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from the Chinese mainland. It said 29 Chinese warplanes had crossed the median line in the strait into its air defense identification zone. It added that eight PLA vessels had been spotted in the strait.
Taiwan hailed President Tsai Ing-wen’s unprecedented meeting with House Speaker McCarthy on US soil as a “rare opportunity,” even as the move risks provoking renewed military tension around the island.  The drills come a day after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen returned from a 10-day visit to Central America and the United States where she met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Beijing had repeatedly warned against the trip and had previously threatened to take “strong and resolute measures” if it went ahead.

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