Editor in chief:
CLARA MOSCHINI

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Military training in the Taiwan Strait

Beijing accused of intimidation

As explained by the maritime security authority of the Fujian coastal province, fire drills are currently underway in the Taiwan Strait. The operations were confirmed by the Chinese state tv station "China Central Television" and are scheduled for today from 8:00 am (local time) until midnight (about 6:00 pm in Italy). According to the Taiwan affairs department director Liu Jieyi, the military exercises would aim to "safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China".

The maneuvers were announced last week at the naval parade in the South China Sea off the Hainan province. During the event, the largest ever completed by the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese President Xi Jinping had encouraged over ten thousand civil servants and sailors to make the national navy "a world-class force". According to state media reports, 48 vessels, the Liaoning Chinese aircraft carrier, 76 helicopters, bombers and fighter planes were taking part in the exercise last week.

Taiwan's defense ministry reacts harshly to shooting tests and says it wants to monitor the Chinese military threat. Spokesman Chen Chung-Chi said: "China has deliberately released false statements to exaggerate. A way to scare Taiwan with verbal intimidations and threats of war". Meanwhile Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen, kept informed in real time about the maneuvers, is visiting Swaziland, a diplomatic ally of the island together with Burkina Faso.

Military exercises could create new conflicts between Beijing and the Taiwanese island, considered by China to be a "rebel" part of its territory. China responds roughly to the American attempt to support the Taiwanese independence government. President Tsai Ing-wen would increase the military expenses for the defense of the independence government and would have asked the United States, the main suppliers of military equipment to the island-state, to supply more advanced equipment.

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© World Aeronautical Press Agency Srl