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A Day After Scheduled End, China Continues Military Drills Around Taiwan

China's military exercises, which began after US House Speaker Pelosi's visit, were scheduled to end on 7 August.

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A day after China's military exercises in Taiwan were scheduled to come to a close, the country's military on Monday, 8 August, announced that it is carrying out fresh drills around the island.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theatre Command, which oversees the self-ruled island, said it would continue drills in waters near Taiwan, focusing on anti-submarine and air-to-ship strikes, Global Times reported.

It has deployed fighter jets, warships and ballistic missiles, which, according to experts, is preparation for a blockade and ultimate invasion of the self-ruled island, which China claims as its territory.

Although the duration of the latest drills is still unknown, Taiwan has eased flight restrictions near the six areas where China had carried out exercises earlier.

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The Communist Party of China considers Taiwan a breakaway province, and President Xi Jinping has clearly said that Taiwan "must and will be" reunited with China.

Meanwhile, few in Taiwan support its reunification with Mainland China.

Taiwanese people don’t trust China to keep their promise of granting limited but significant autonomy to Taiwan after the reunification, especially in the context of China's recent policy in Hong Kong.

Drills Started After Nancy Pelosi's Visit 

After US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan on 2 August, China had responded with test deployment of ballistic missiles over Taipei for the first time, as well as abandoning a few lines of dialogue with Washington.

Beyond the firing of 11 short-range ballistic missiles during the four earlier days of exercises, Chinese warships, fighter jets, and drones circled extensively around Taiwan.

Shortly before those drills ended on 7 August, about 10 warships each from Taiwan and China steered close to each other around the unofficial median line of the Taiwan Strait.

China fears that Pelosi's visit will open the floodgates for similar visits by world leaders, especially from Japan and the European Union (EU), undermining the credibility of its claims over the island whose majority population preferred to remain independent.

'Gonsalves' Visit Has Deeply Touched Us': Taiwan President

Earlier in the day, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met visiting St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, while telling him that she was moved by his visit despite China's mounting military pressure.

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"Prime Minister Gonsalves has expressed in recent days that the Chinese military drills would not prevent him from visiting friends in Taiwan. These statements have deeply touched us," Ing-wen said at a welcome ceremony for Gonsalves in Taipei.

It was, however, not clear as to when Taiwan had invited Gonsalves.

"We don't disclose internal planning or communications between governments," the Taiwanese foreign ministry said, according to Reuters.

(With inputs from Reuters, AFP and PTI.)

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Topics:  Taiwan   China Army   Nancy Pelosi 

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