China-Taiwan tension: Amid soaring tension between China and Taiwan, President Xi Jinping's military said it is "ready to fight" after completing three days of large-scale combat exercises around Taiepi.
The daring military drill from PLA came in response to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's trip to the United States last week. During her trip, she met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other top US officials. A US congressional delegation also met with Tsai over the weekend in Taiwan after she returned.
The "combat readiness patrols" named Joint Sword were meant as a warning to self-governing Taiwan, which China claims as its own.
"The theatre's troops are ready to fight at all times and can fight at any time to resolutely smash any form of Taiwan independence' and foreign interference attempts," it said Monday.
China sends 91 warplanes near Taiwan
Earlier today, the Taiwanese military again claimed as many as 91 Chinese military aircraft and 12 PLAN vessels around Taiwan were detected by 6 am. It said that 54 of the detected aircraft had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s southwest and southeast ADIZ. Furthermore, it said currently, there are eight vessels still operating in the waters surrounding Taiwan. "We will continue to keep a close watch on the movements," said ROC.
The exercises were similar to ones conducted by China last August, when it launched missile strikes on targets in the seas around Taiwan in retaliation for then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, but have been smaller and less disruptive.
US calls China's step "unnecessary"
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reiterated the position of President Joe Biden's administration that Tsai's transit through the US and the congressional visit to Taiwan was not out of the norm. Tsai transited through the United States six times between 2016 and 2019."There was no reason to react in any way militarily," he said. "There's no reason for tensions across the Taiwan Strait to devolve into any kind of conflict."
China responded immediately to the McCarthy meeting by imposing a travel ban and financial sanctions against those associated with Tsai's US trip and with increased military activity through the weekend.
(With inputs from agency)