9 April: The U.S. State Department said on Friday that it was closely watching China’s military exercises near Taiwan and urged Beijing to refrain from any actions that could escalate tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said on Thursday that it had conducted joint air and naval drills in multiple areas near Taiwan, including the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
The PLA said the drills were routine and aimed at testing the combat readiness of its forces.
However, Taiwan’s defense ministry said the drills were a provocation and a threat to regional peace and stability.
Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained of repeated Chinese military activity near the island in recent months.
The U.S., which does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is its main international backer and arms supplier, has expressed concern over China’s military pressure on Taiwan and reiterated its support for the island’s self-defense.
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
“We have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability,” he added.
Price also said the U.S. commitment to Taiwan was “rock solid” and that Washington would continue to deepen its ties with Taipei in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances.`