Vastavam web: China today announced live-firing military exercises in the Taiwan Strait amid heightened tensions over increased American support for Taiwan’s government.The announcement by the maritime safety authority in the coastal province of Fujian coincided with a statement from their counterparts in Hainan province that the navy was ending a three-day exercise in the South China Sea one day early.While Beijing responded mildly to US President Donald Trump’s early outreach to Taiwan’s independence-leaning government, recent developments have prompted a tougher response. China claims Taiwan, which separated from the mainland during the Chinese civil war in 1949, as its own territory and says the sides must eventually be united, by force if necessary.
Despite the lack of formal ties, Washington is legally bound to respond to threats to Taiwan and is the island’s main supplier of imported military hardware.An agreement to pass Taiwan submarine manufacturing technology and the appointment of hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton have also hardened views among anti-American nationalists in China.
Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office yesterday warned against additional moves to strengthen relations with Taiwan.”Any attempt to play the ‘Taiwan card’ would only be futile,” spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said. China, Ma said, would “not hesitate to protect our core interests.”China has also stepped-up air force missions in airspace around Taiwan and has repeatedly sailed its sole operating aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, through the 160 kilometer-wide Taiwan Strait.