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China Keeps Up Pressure on Taiwan      08/07 09:59

   China said Sunday it carried out its fourth consecutive day of military 
drills in the air and sea around Taiwan in the wake of U.S. House Speaker Nancy 
Pelosi's visit to the self-ruled island, despite international calls to calm 
the tensions.

   BEIJING (AP) -- China said Sunday it carried out its fourth consecutive day 
of military drills in the air and sea around Taiwan in the wake of U.S. House 
Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the self-ruled island, despite international 
calls to calm the tensions.

   The People's Liberation Army said the exercises focused on testing its 
long-range air and ground strikes. It did not say if it will continue the 
drills after Sunday.

   Taiwan said that it continued to detect several batches of Chinese aircraft, 
ships and drones operating around the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island 
and mainland China, and "simulating attacks on the island of Taiwan and our 
ships at sea."

   Taiwan's official Central News Agency meanwhile reported that Taiwan's army 
will conduct live-fire artillery drills in southern Pingtung County on Tuesday 
and Thursday, in response to the Chinese exercises.

   The drills will include snipers, combat vehicles, armored vehicles as well 
as attack helicopters, said the report, which cited an anonymous source.

   China set up no-go areas around Taiwan for the four-day drills it announced 
immediately after Pelosi's trip to Taipei on Tuesday and Wednesday that 
infuriated Beijing, which saw it as a violation of the "one-China" policy. 
China claims Taiwan and has threatened to annex it by force if necessary. The 
two sides split in 1949 after a civil war, but Beijing considers visits to 
Taiwan by foreign officials as recognizing its sovereignty.

   Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense emphasized that its military was 
surveilling the situation and had dispatched aircraft and ships to respond 
accordingly.

   Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has called on the international community to 
"support democratic Taiwan" and "halt any escalation of the regional security 
situation."

   China has so far conducted missiles strikes on targets in the seas around 
Taiwan, and sent warships across the Taiwan Straits median line. It has also 
cut off defense and climate talks with the U.S. and imposed sanctions on Pelosi 
in retaliation for her visit.

   The Biden administration and Pelosi say the U.S. remains committed to the 
"one-China" policy that recognizes Beijing as the legitimate government but 
allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.

   The U.S. however criticized Beijing's actions in the Taiwan Strait, with 
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre calling them "fundamentally 
irresponsible."

   "There's no need and no reason for this escalation," Jean-Pierre said.

   Singapore's coordinating minister for national security Teo Chee Hean said 
in a Facebook post Saturday that the U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan is "an 
issue that can lead to conflict and war to the detriment of all parties 
involved, especially the people in Taiwan."

   The tensions have a negative impact on Southeast Asia, Teo said, adding: "We 
hope that wisdom will prevail."

 
 
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