Tension flares up as US deploys destroyer after China ‘seals off’ Taiwan during drills

BEIJING – China concluded its three-day military drills on Monday, “sealing off” Taiwan island conducting simulating targeted strikes on the last day, while US deployed combat ship in waters claimed by Beijing. 

In a statement, the Chinese military confirmed that the Shandong aircraft carrier had taken part in Monday’s exercises, adding fighter jets loaded with live ammunition had “carried out multiple waves of simulated strikes on important targets”.

Beijing kicked off the military exercises on Saturday after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met the US House Speaker in California Kevin McCarthy.

Meanwhile, Taiwan said it had detected four J-15 fighter jets to its east part, besides vowing to continue to strengthen its combat preparedness.

“Although [China’s] Eastern Theatre Command has announced the end of its exercise, the [Taiwanese] military will never relax its efforts to strengthen its combat readiness,” the Taiwan’s defence ministry said in a statement.

Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state while China calls it a breakaway province that will eventually become part of it.

Also on Monday the US deployed the USS Milius, a guided-missile destroyer about 1,300km (800 miles) south of Taiwan in a gesture of solidarity with the island.

China alleged that the ship had “illegally intruded” into its waters, while the US declined the claim adding that the movement was consistent with international law.

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