Lazy eyes listen
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) held military drills near Taiwan on Sunday, according to the Eastern Theater Command. Beijing has blamed the US and the self-governing island for the region’s continued escalation.
Colonel Shi Yi, the command’s spokesman, said in a brief statement that the military “organized joint combat-readiness patrols and joint firepower strike drills in airspace and waters around Taiwan.” He did not specify the exact location or scale of the exercise.
The drills, according to the colonel, are “a resolute response to the escalating collusion and provocation by the US and Taiwan,” and the PLA will take “all necessary measures” to defend China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The nature of the alleged US “provocation” was not disclosed by Chinese officials, but the drills took place just two days after President Joe Biden signed the 2023 US National Defense Authorization Act into law. The United States’ fiscal year 2023 military budget authorizes $10 billion in security assistance and expedited weapon procurement for Taiwan.
The Chinese Defense Ministry blasted the bill on Saturday, saying it “seriously jeopardizes the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” and raises the risk of a direct military conflict between Washington and Beijing.
So far, Taiwan’s government has made no comment on the situation. The island nation, which has been self-ruled since 1949, has never officially declared independence from Beijing. It is regarded by China as an inalienable part of its territory.
Tensions in Taiwan have been high since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island in August. While officially adhering to the One China policy and acknowledging Beijing’s sovereignty over the island, Washington has actively backed Taipei.
Senior US officials’ visits to Taiwan, as well as brisk military cooperation between Taipei and Washington, have repeatedly prompted Beijing to object. In a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi accused the US of “stabbing China in the back” and urged Washington to abandon its policy of “unilateral bullying.”