China completes military drills around Taiwan

Chinese warships in the South China Sea

ISTANBUL – China on Wednesday announced it has completed the unprecedented military exercises around Taiwan, which were launched last week to protest a visit to the self-ruled island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command said it “had successfully completed various missions during recent drills around Taiwan island and effectively tested the troops’ joint operation combat capacity,” Anadolu Agency quoted Chinese daily Global Times report.

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“The command will regularly organise combat readiness patrols in Taiwan Straits,” the command added.

The announcement came hours after China released a White Paper refusing to rule out the use of force to unify Taiwan with the mainland. However, it added that China will “work with great sincerity to achieve peaceful unification.”

Pelosi paid a brief trip last Tuesday and Wednesday to the self-ruled island, the first in 25 years by a sitting US House speaker.

She made the visit despite Beijing’s warnings that the island is a “breakaway province” and that her visit would be in violation of the country’s “one-China policy.”

Soon after she left Taipei, Beijing launched massive military exercises last Thursday which were scheduled to end on Sunday, but were extended until Wednesday.

Beijing also sanctioned Pelosi and her close family over the trip while downgrading military dialogue with the US and suspending cooperation in climate change besides six other “countermeasures.”