The People’s Liberation Army organized interservice combat exercises near Taiwan on Friday in response to recent provocations by the United States with regards to the Taiwan question, according to a military spokesman.
Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesman for the PLA Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement that the command sent ships, fighter jets, bomber aircraft and other forces on combat patrols and assault exercises on Friday in the air and waters of the East China Sea and near the island.
“This operation was arranged in response to the frequent wrong signals from the US on the Taiwan question in recent days,” he said. “Such malicious acts and attempts are useless and dangerous. Whoever plays with fire will eventually get burned.”
Shi said his command is always ready to protect national sovereignty and security and regional peace and stability.
The exercises came amid an ongoing visit to Taiwan by six lawmakers from both chambers of the US Congress.
The congressional delegation — led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican serving as a ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee — arrived in Taiwan on Thursday on an unannounced trip with a tight schedule that includes a meeting with Taiwan leader, Tsai Ing-wen.
Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, said on Friday that US lawmakers had made their provocative visit to Taiwan despite China’s strong opposition.
He stressed that the move has gravely violated the one-China policy and the three Sino-US Joint Communiques, seriously damaged the political foundations of bilateral relations, and resulted in further escalation in the Taiwan Straits.
“The US keeps sending the wrong messages to Taiwan secessionist forces while continuing to reiterate its commitment that it doesn’t support Taiwan independence. This is exceptionally hypocritical and perfidious,” Wu said, adding that China has lodged solemn representations with the US.
The spokesman said China will never tolerate foreign interference in the Taiwan question. The exercises carried out by the PLA Eastern Theater Command were a necessary countermeasure to protect national sovereignty in accordance with the current security situation in the Taiwan Straits, he noted.