Taiwan steps up military drills to counter Beijing

China | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 10 Jan 2019

Taiwan's military yesterday announced a series of newly designed large-scale military drills, aimed at countering China's renewed threat to use force if necessary to regain control of the island.

While Taiwan's armed forces regularly hold such exercises, this year's drills are "being drafted based on newly adopted tactics for defending against a possible Chinese invasion," the official Central News Agency quoted Major-General Yeh Kuo-hui as saying.

China claims sovereignty over the democratic self-governing island, which split from the mainland amid civil war in 1949.

President Xi Jinping renewed the threat of force in his January 2 message, saying Beijing reserved that right if necessary to counter interference by external forces, and what he called an extremely small number of Taiwanese separatists.

Although Xi didn't name the United States, Washington is a key weapons supplier to Taiwan, and is legally bound to respond to threats against it.

Xi has ratcheted up the military threat to put pressure on independence-leaning Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

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