China practices military exercises off coast of Taiwan as ‘punishment’ for elections

Taiwan scrambled jets and put missile, naval, and land units on alert May 23 over Chinese military exercises being conducted around the self-governing island democracy where a new president took office this week.

China’s military said its two-day exercises around Taiwan were punishment for separatist forces seeking independence. Beijing claims the island is part of China’s national territory and the People’s Liberation Army sends navy ships and warplanes into the Taiwan Strait and other areas around the island almost daily to wear down Taiwan’s defenses and seek to intimidate its people, who firmly back their de facto independence.

China’s “irrational provocation has jeopardized regional peace and stability,” the island’s Defense Ministry said. It said Taiwan will seek no conflicts but “will not shy away from one.”

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