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China says drills near Taiwan target ‘arrogance’ of separatists


BEIJING/TAPEI  – China said on Wednesday its recent series of drills near Taiwan aimed at combating the “arrogance” of separatist forces, while the frontrunner to be Taiwan’s next president said China was trying to “annex” the island.
Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has said this month that it had observed dozens of fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships and the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, operating nearby.
The increased frequency of China’s military activities has raised the risk of events “getting out of hand” and sparking an accidental clash, the island’s defence minister has warned.
Asked about the spurt in drills, and Taiwan’s concerns about increased risk, Zhu Fenglian, the spokeswoman of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, acknowledged the drills by the People’s Liberation Army.
“The purpose is to resolutely combat the arrogance of Taiwan independence separatist forces and their actions to seek independence,” Zhu told a regular news briefing in Beijing.
“The provocation of Taiwan independence continues all day long, and the actions of the People’s Liberation Army to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity are always ongoing,” she added.
She urged people in Taiwan to distinguish between “right and wrong”, resolutely oppose independence for the island, and work with China to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

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