Recent Chinese military drills off Taiwan’s southwest coast were a “necessary action” to protect China’s sovereignty, Beijing said on Wednesday, after Taiwan complained the large-scale air and naval exercises were a serious provocation.
China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own, has stepped up military activities near the island, in actions Taiwan views as intimidation to force it to accept Chinese rule.
Taiwan denounced the two days of exercises last week, which it said took place in Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, between mainland Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
Taiwan says China sent advanced Sukhoi Su-30 and Chengdu J-10 fighter jets to participate.
Offering China’s first public explanation for the exercises, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said Taiwan was a “sacred” and inseparable part of China.
“The relevant combat training activities by the People’s Liberation Army were a necessary action aimed at the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty,” Ma told a news conference.