AP

China renews threat against Taiwan as island holds drills

Jan 10, 2023, 7:42 AM | Updated: Jan 11, 2023, 2:55 am

Soldiers stand guard after a preparedness enhancement drill simulating the defense against Beijing'...

Soldiers stand guard after a preparedness enhancement drill simulating the defense against Beijing's military intrusions, ahead of the Lunar New Year in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan on Wednesday, Jan 11, 2023. China renewed its threats Wednesday to attack Taiwan and warned that foreign politicians who interact with the self-governing island are "playing with fire." (AP Photo/Daniel Ceng)

(AP Photo/Daniel Ceng)

BEIJING (AP) — China renewed its threats Wednesday to attack Taiwan and warned that foreign politicians who interact with the self-governing island are “playing with fire.”

A spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said the country was recommitted in the new year to “safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “smashing plots for Taiwan independence” on the self-governing democracy that separated from mainland China in 1949.

“The malicious support for Taiwan independence among anti-China elements in a few foreign countries are a deliberate provocation,” Ma Xiaoguang said at a biweekly news conference.

China views Taiwan as a Chinese territory that must be brought under Beijing’s control, by force if necessary. A string of visits in recent months by foreign politicians to Taiwan, including by then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and numerous politicians from the European Union, spurred displays of military might from both sides.

This week, Taiwan’s military is staging drills intended to reassure the public of its ability to counter China’s threats ahead of this month’s Lunar New Year holiday.

“The most important thing is to maintain the safety of our airspace and national security,” air force Lt. Col. Wu Bong-yeng told reporters at Hsinchu Air Base just south of the capital, Taipei.

The drills coincide with a visit from German and Lithuanian lawmakers — the latter Baltic state being a particular target of Chinese ire for upgrading its ties with Taiwan.

“We call on the relevant countries to … cease sending the wrong signals to Taiwan independence separatist forces and cease playing with fire on the question of Taiwan,” Ma said.

China has responded to foreign visits by holding large-scale military exercises seen by some as a rehearsal for a blockade or invasion. Beijing sends airplanes and warships toward Taiwan on a near-daily basis, often crossing the midline of the 160 kilometer (100 miles) Taiwan Strait dividing the sides. At the end of December, China sent a record 71 planes and seven ships toward Taiwan — the largest such scale exercise in 2022.

China’s efforts to isolate the island diplomatically have left Taiwan with just 14 official diplomatic partners, although it retains robust unofficial relations with key ally the U.S. and more than 100 nations around the world.

___

Associated Press reporter Johnson Lai in Hsinchu, Taiwan, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

1 day ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

2 days ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

3 days ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

3 days ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

4 days ago

Image: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, speaks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zele...

Associated Press

Ukraine uses US weapons to strike inside Russia, a Western official tells AP

Ukraine has used U.S weapons to strike inside Russia in recent days, according to a Western official familiar with the matter told the AP.

9 days ago

China renews threat against Taiwan as island holds drills