China holds military drill as US envoy visits Taiwan

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A file photo of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army warshipImage copyright
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A file photo of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army warship

China says it is conducting military exercises near the Taiwan Strait to “protect its sovereignty” as a top US official visits Taiwan.

The live-fire drills take place amid rising tensions between Beijing and Washington, and as the US moves to shore up its support 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 visit the island in decades.

On Friday, China’s defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang accused the US and Taiwan of “stepping up collusion, frequently causing disturbances”, although he did not make any reference to the visit.

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

The military exercise was “legitimate and necessary for the mainland to protect its sovereignty and integrity”, he said.

Mr Krach, who is the US undersecretary of economic affairs, is scheduled to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen later on Friday.

Although the US does not have a formal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act allows it to sell arms to the island, and commits it to “close relations”.


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