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China conducts military exercises near Taiwan over US ‘provocations’

China has conducted military exercises near Taiwan in response to “provocations” and “collusion” between the United States and the self-ruled island.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “organised joint combat readiness patrol and joint fire strike drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan Island,” said Shi Yi, spokesperson for the Eastern Theater Command.

He added that Sunday’s exercises were a firm response to the provocations by the US and the Taiwan.

Beijing did not specify the number of aircraft mobilised for the exercises, nor the exact location of these manoeuvers.

The PLA also published photos of a bomber, a warship and an aerial landscape taken from a plane’s cockpit showing what it said was a mountain range in Taiwan.

The latter shot was meant to emphasise how close the aircraft got to the Taiwanese coast.

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Growing anger

Beijing claims democratic, self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory, to be taken one day by force if necessary, and has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on the island.

Beijing has been incensed by US President Joe Biden’s handling of Taiwan, especially after he said Washington would defend it militarily.

China’s Foreign Ministry had also expressed “strong opposition” on Saturday after a US defence bill authorised $10 billion in military aid and seeks to expedite arms sales to Taiwan.

Tensions peaked in August after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, with the PLA staging huge military drills around the island in protest.

Beijing lashes out at any diplomatic action that might lend Taiwan legitimacy and has responded with growing anger to visits by Western officials and politicians.

READ MORE: Biden vows US ‘manufacturing is back’ at Taiwan semiconductor plant

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