BEIJING, April 14 (Reuters) – China on Wednesday described its military exercises in the vicinity of Taiwan as “mock combat,” hours before the arrival in Taipei by former US officials on a trip aimed at showing commitment. of President Joe Biden with Taiwan and its democracy.
Taiwan has denounced the proximity of persistent Chinese military activity, which includes the entry of fighters and bombers into its air defense zone and the maneuvers of a Chinese aircraft carrier off the island, claimed by Beijing.
Twenty-five Chinese air force aircraft, including nuclear-capable fighters and bombers, entered Taipei’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday, the largest incursion reported to date.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said the Taiwanese government and separatists were in cahoots with “outside forces”, trying to provoke and undermine peace and stability.
The United States, which like most countries only officially recognizes the government of China and not that of Taiwan, although it is Taipei’s biggest international supporter, has watched tensions rise with growing alarm.
Former US Senator Chris Dodd and former Undersecretaries of State Richard Armitage and James Steinberg will arrive in Taiwan on Wednesday, in what a White House official called a “personal show” of the president’s commitment to Taiwan and its democracy.
They are scheduled to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday on a trip that is further fraying China-US relations.
Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang said the trip “demonstrates once again that the relationship between Taiwan and the United States is solid as a rock, and is a full expression of all-party support for Taiwan in the United States.” .
For his part, Chinese spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said a meeting with the president “will only exacerbate the tense situation in the Taiwan Strait.”
“We resolutely oppose the United States exaggerating the so-called ‘Chinese military threat’ argument, and we resolutely oppose the United States playing the ‘Taiwan card’ and continuing to send the wrong signals to the independence forces in Taiwan,” he added.
(Information from the Beijing press room; Written by Se Young Lee and Ben Blanchard; edited by Simon Cameron-Moore; translated by Flora Gómez at the Gdansk newsroom)