After Taiwan buys arms, China holds military drills on southeast coast

Above, the Liaoning, China’s sole operational aircraft carrier, sails with other ships during a drill at sea in this April 2018 file photo. (AFP)
Updated 14 July 2019

After Taiwan buys arms, China holds military drills on southeast coast

  • China’s defense ministry said that the People’s Liberation Army had in ‘recent days’ held the exercises
  • China’s southeast coast is one of the country’s most sensitive regions as it faces Taiwan across the narrow Taiwan Strait

BEIJING: China’s military recently carried out air and naval drills along its southeast coast, the Defense Ministry said on Sunday, following the latest arms sales from the United States to self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as a renegade province.
In a brief statement, and without giving an exact geographical location, the ministry said that the People’s Liberation Army had in “recent days” held the exercises.
“These drills were routine arrangements in accordance with annual plans for the military,” it said, without elaborating.
China’s southeast coast is one of the country’s most sensitive regions as it faces Taiwan across the narrow Taiwan Strait. China deems democratic Taiwan to be a wayward province, to be taken by force if needed.
On Friday, China said it would impose sanctions on US firms involved in a deal to sell $2.2 billion worth of tanks, missiles and related equipment to Taiwan, saying it harmed China’s sovereignty and national security.
That announcement came as Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was visiting New York on a transit stop to diplomatic allies in the Caribbean, a trip that has also infuriated Beijing, further straining Sino-US ties already affected by a bitter trade war.
In a statement on Sunday, Taiwan’s Presidential Office cited National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Ming-yen as saying President Tsai had spoken by telephone with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi while she was in the United States and met with other senators and members of Congress, without naming them.
President Tsai said Taiwan and the United States can both forge even closer ties, and also thanked the United States for “the importance it attaches to the security of the Taiwan Strait” and the recently announced arms sale, the statement said.
President Tsai also promised the United States that in the future in the Indo-Pacific region, Taiwan will continue to play a responsible partnership role, and defend democratic values and peace and stability in the region with like-minded countries, the statement added.
Tsai has repeatedly warned of the threat from its giant neighbor China and has vowed to defend Taiwan’s security, democracy and way of life.
China has in recent years stepped up its military drills around Taiwan, including regularly flying what Beijing calls “island encirclement” exercises and sending warships into the waters around Taiwan.


US Navy moves to expel court-martialed SEAL commando after Trump restored his rank

Updated 21 November 2019

US Navy moves to expel court-martialed SEAL commando after Trump restored his rank

WASHINGTON : The US military formally notified a court-martialed Navy SEAL commando on Wednesday that he faces proceedings to expel him from the ranks of elite special forces after his demotion was reversed by President Donald Trump, his lawyer and a Navy spokeswoman said.
A Trident Review Board hearing is set for Dec. 2 to weigh whether Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who was charged with committing war crimes during a 2017 deployment to Iraq, is fit to remain in the SEALs, Navy Captain Tamara Lawrence said.
She told Reuters that three of Gallagher’s commanding officers face separate hearings to review whether they, too, should be removed from the SEALs. Gallagher’s civilian lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, confirmed his client was served with papers informing him of his review.