Russia Supports China’s Military Drills Around Taiwan as a “Sovereign Right”

Mon Apr 10 2023
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MOSCOW: The Kremlin has expressed support for China’s recent three-day military drills around Taiwan, stating that China enjoys the “sovereign right” to respond to what it deems as “provocative acts.”


The Russian government spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said on Monday that China’s actions were in line with international law.


“We have witnessed several acts that were provocative in their character towards China,” Peskov said. “China has the independent and sovereign right to respond to these provocative activities, including with military manoeuvres, in strict accordance with international law.”


China has increased its military activity around Taiwan in recent months, amid rising tensions between the two countries.


China has declared the successful completion of three days of war games around Taiwan, which saw dozens of aircraft simulated strikes and an aerial blockade of the self-ruled island. The drills were held in response to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with the United States (US) House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last week, which Beijing had warned would provoke a strong response.


The war games involved targeted strikes on Taiwan, the encirclement of the island, and an “aerial blockade.” One of two Chinese aircraft carriers, the Shandong, also participated in the exercise.


In response, the US Navy sent the USS Milius guided-missile destroyer through disputed parts of the South China Sea, triggering condemnation from China, which accused the vessel of illegally intruding into its territorial waters.


Beijing warned on Monday that Taiwanese independence and cross-strait peace were “mutually exclusive” and blamed Taipei and unnamed “foreign forces” for the tensions.


China claims of Taiwan


Taiwan and China split at the end of a civil war in 1949. China considers democratic Taiwan as part of its territory and has maintained to take it one day.


The United States (US) has been deliberately ambiguous on whether it would defend Taiwan militarily but has sold weapons to Taipei to help ensure its self-defense and offered political support.


Tsai’s meeting with McCarthy outside Los Angeles on her way home from a visit with two allied countries in Central America was viewed as a compromise that would ensure support for the island but avoid inflaming tensions with Beijing.


But China had repeatedly warned against any such meeting and began the latest war games soon after Tsai returned to Taiwan.


The exercises “comprehensively tested the integrated joint combat ability of multiple military branches under actual combat conditions,” said the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Command in a statement.


On Beigan island, part of Matsu archipelago island of Taiwan that is within sight of China’s mainland, 60-year-old chef Lin Ke-Qiang said he did not want war.


“We, common people, only want to live peaceful and stable lives,” Lin said, adding that the military force of Taiwan was no match for China’s.


“If any war happens, now that their ammunitions and missiles are so advanced, there’s no way our side could resist. This site will be levelled to the ground.”


Taiwan, which China strongly claims as its own territory, has been pushing back against China’s growing military assertiveness. The island nation’s defence ministry said last week that it would “continue to strengthen its overall defence capabilities” to ensure national security.


The United States has also expressed concern over China’s military activity around Taiwan, with the US Navy sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait last week in a move that was described as a “routine transit” but which also served as a show of support for Taiwan.


The latest comments from the Kremlin are likely to further strain relations between Russia and the US, which have been fraught in recent years. The two countries have clashed over a range of issues, including allegations of Russian interference in US elections and Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.


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