China conducts live-fire military exercises off Taiwan

TEHRAN, Jul. 31 (MNA) – China said it was conducting military exercises off its coast opposite Taiwan after warning Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, to scrap possible plans to visit the island democracy.

The ruling Communist party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), was conducting “live-fire exercises” near the Pingtan islands off Fujian province from 8 am to 9 pm on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency said. The Maritime Safety Administration warned ships to avoid the area.

Such exercises usually involve artillery. The one-sentence announcement gave no indication whether the exercises also may include missiles, fighter planes or other weapons.

President Xi Jinping warned his US counterpart, Joe Biden, in a phone call on Thursday against “external interference” in Beijing’s dealings with the island.

China’s Ministry of Defence warned Washington this week not to allow Pelosi, who is Biden’s equal in rank as leader of one of three branches of government, to visit Taiwan. A spokesperson said the PLA would take unspecified “strong measures” to stop the pro-independence activity.

The PLA has flown growing numbers of fighter planes and bombers near Taiwan and has in the past fired missiles into shipping lanes to the island.

China will "resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity", an air force spokesman said on Sunday, referring to Taiwan.

Air force spokesman Shen Jinke was quoted by state media as saying at a military airshow that the air force has many types of fighter jets capable of circling "the precious island of our motherland".

Shen said on Sunday, "The air force has the firm will, full confidence and sufficient capability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity."

ZZ/

News Code 189674

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