China-US relations: PLA holds drills around Taiwan after Biden signs security bill
- The Eastern Theatre Command mounts joint combat-readiness exercises on Christmas Day
- A day earlier, US president passed legislation to increase security cooperation with Taipei
“The Eastern Theatre Command of the PLA organised joint combat-readiness patrols and joint firepower strike drills in airspace and waters around Taiwan on December 25,” command spokesman Colonel Shi Yi said.
“It was a resolute response to the escalating collusion and provocation by the United States and Taiwan. The command’s troops will take all necessary measures to firmly defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Analysts warned that the new legislation, which authorises up to US$10 billion in funding over the next five years to strengthen the island’s defences, may fuel an arms race and further damage relations between China and the US.
Beijing sees the island as part of China and has never ruled out the use of force to take control of it. Like many countries, the US does not recognise Taiwan as an independent state but opposes any attempt to take the island by force.
Taiwan has been a flashpoint in the China-US relationship since the Donald Trump presidency, and Washington has moved even closer to Taipei under Biden.
The PLA responded to the visit by mounting a week of military drills around Taiwan. Beijing also suspended a number of exports of agricultural products as retaliation.
Sunday’s drill also came ahead of a planned trip to China by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken early next year.
Both sides have agreed to keep lines of communication open, but Beijing has repeatedly spoken out about what it says is Washington’s strategy of containment and suppression.