China said its military is holding exercises this week in waters near Taiwan, announcing the move days after Beijing reiterated that it is ready to fight if there is any move towards independence for the island, Reuters reports.
China’s maritime safety agency, which made the announcement, did not say when the exercises would be held or what type of forces would be involved but it placed an area off the coast of Guangdong and Fujian provinces, west of Taiwan, off limits from 6 am local time on Monday to 6 pm on Friday, due to military activity, the report said.
The agency was also quoted as saying that an area off the coast of Zhejiang province, northeast of Taiwan, was off limits for military exercises until Thursday evening.
China claims self-ruled and democratic Taiwan as its own and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under Beijing’s control.
In recent years, it has stepped up its military drills around Taiwan, including regularly flying what Beijing calls “island encirclement” exercises and sending warships into surrounding waters.
Taiwan has been closely monitoring the situation in the strait to ensure safety and regional stability, the island’s defense ministry said.
“The national army continues to reinforce its key defense capacity and is definitely confident and capable of defending the nation’s security,” it said in a statement.
Taiwan held its own annual military exercises in May, vowing to defend itself against China’s growing threat.
China last week reiterated it would be ready to go to war against those who tried to split Taiwan from the country.
Beijing accused the United States of undermining global stability through arms sales to Taiwan.
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