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China Warns US, Taiwan With Live Fire Drills

Beijing (October 17, 2018): Chinese President Xi Jinping has sent a clear message of Beijing’s disapproval over growing ties between the United States and Taiwan by ordering live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait.

The drills, to be held this coming Wednesday, will mark the first time the Chinese Navy has held drills with live ammunition in the strait since September 2015, in the lead-up to the self-ruled island’s presidential election.Prior to those elections, relations between the two were at a high point after Xi met with then-President Ma Ying-jeou, the first such meeting in history between leaders of the two governments.

But since then, tensions between China and the island it views as a breakaway province have become strained under Ma’s successor, President Tsai Ing-wen.

The aircraft carrier Liaoning in the maritime parade conducted by the Chinese PLA Navy in the South China Sea on April 12.The planned live-fire exercises follow a massive show of force by the PLA Navy on April 10 and 11, which conducted the country’s largest military drills ever in the South China Sea.

Chinese President Xi personally reviewed the troops himself from the deck of the Chinese destroyer Changsha on Thursday, speaking to the troops about the need for the navy to become “world-class.”Responding to the news of the upcoming live-fire drills, the Taiwanese Defense Military said in a statement the drills were taking place in a “routine” military zone and reiterated their national army could protect the island from any threat. “Our people please rest assured,” the statement said.

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