China's military exercises aimed at blockading Taiwan: defense ministry
Taipei, Aug. 3 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Wednesday blasted China's plan to hold a series of live-fire military drills in six maritime areas near Taiwan from Aug. 4 to 7, saying it is an attempt to blockade the country.
The planned military exercises are also an infringement of Taiwan's sovereignty and a violation of international laws, as the designated areas either extend to Taiwan's territorial waters or are very close to them, MND spokesman Sun Li-fang (孫立方) said in an online press conference.
China's "irrational" actions would "jeopardize the safety of international waterways, challenge international order, break the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, and endanger regional security," Sun said, referring to the hostile operations announced by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China minutes after the arrival of U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taipei on Tuesday night.
Sixteen minutes after Pelosi's flight landed in Taipei late Tuesday night, the PLA issued a statement on China's state-run Xinhua news agency, saying it would hold live-fire military exercises in six different areas in waters around Taiwan, from Thursday to Sunday.
Pelosi is scheduled to depart Taiwan Wednesday.
At Wednesday's press conference, Sun said Taiwan's military will never seek to start a war or escalate any conflicts, but it is always prepared for combat.
The military can and will defend Taiwan's territory, and it will also take action to stop any invasive operations, he said.
"The military is committed to safeguarding national sovereignty," he said, adding that it will closely monitor the PLA's movements near Taiwan.
According to a map released by Xinhua, the PLA drills will be carried out in waters north, northeast, northwest, east, south and southwest of Taiwan, in the Taiwan Strait, the Bashi Channel, the East China Sea, and the Pacific.
One of the locations is less than 20 kilometers off the coast of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, the map shows.
In addition, the PLA's Eastern Theater Command reportedly launched a series of joint military operations in waters around Taiwan on Tuesday night.
Yu Chian-chang (于健昌), an MND official in charge of law affairs, said at Wednesday's press conference the PLA apparently intends to blockade Taiwan with live-fire operations at sea and in the air.
Such actions, however, are a violation of international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, he said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Wednesday that China's provocative actions have disrupted international order and will destroy peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the wider region.
The Republic of China (Taiwan) is an independent sovereign state, which is not affiliated to the People's Republic of China, MOFA said in a statement.
"This is an internationally recognized fact, and it is the status quo that has long been maintained on both sides of the Taiwan Strait," MOFA said.
Also on Wednesday, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the top government agency that handles China policy, called on Beijing to stop the provocative actions.
The MAC said it will maintain contact with the United States and neighboring countries, in a cooperative effort to deal with the latest military threat from China.
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