• By The Financial District

China Justifies Its Military Drills Near Taiwan

Chinese military exercises near Taiwan are targeted at forces promoting the island's formal independence and are a "just" move to protect peace and stability, China's Taiwan Affairs Office said on Wednesday and stressed they are aimed at interference by external forces.


Photo Insert: The Chinese Navy conducting maritime exercises



Military tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, are at their worst in more than 40 years, Taiwan's defense minister said last week, adding China will be capable of mounting a "full scale" invasion by 2025, Ben Blanchard reported for Reuters.


He was speaking after China mounted four straight days of mass air force incursions into Taiwan's air defense identification zone that began Oct. 1, part of a pattern of what Taipei views as stepped-up military harassment by Beijing.



Speaking at a regular news briefing in Beijing, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said the cause of current tensions was Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) "collusion" with foreign force and "provocations" over seeking Taiwan's independence.


Chinese drills are aimed at this collusion - a veiled reference to US support for Taiwan - and separatist activities, protecting the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, he added.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

"They are absolutely just actions," Ma said.


Taiwan says it is an independent country called the Republic of China, its formal name, and will defend its freedom and democracy.


Government & politics: Politicians, government officials and delegates standing in front of their country flags in a political event in the financial district.

Despite Ma's comments, both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen made relatively conciliatory speeches at the weekend, even as Xi vowed to bring Taiwan under its control and Tsai said they would not be forced to bow to China.


Xi did not mention resorting to force over Taiwan, while Tsai reiterated a desire for peace and dialogue with China.



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