Taiwan unveils new amphibious assault and transport ship
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While Chinese military jets carried out another fly-over above Taiwan, a high-level delegation of US officials visited the island. In response, Beijing told Taipei any attempts to strengthen ties with the US “would fail”.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office announced the strike force of 25 Chinese fighters, bombers and surveillance aircraft which flew over Taipei was to send a message to the island.
In a grim warning, spokesman Ma Xiaoguang declared: “The signal given by the military drills is that we are determined to stop Taiwan independence, and stop Taiwan from working with the US.
“We are doing it with action.
“We do not promise to abandon the use of force, and retain the option of taking all necessary measures.”
As the USS Theodore Roosevelt and its battle group entered the South China Sea, China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning and its fleet circled Taiwan.
When the two fleets converged, the 25 Chinese aircraft, which included 14 J-16 strike fighters and four H-6K strategic bombers, pushed their way into airspace over Taiwan’s nearby Pratas Island.
Chinese state media outlet The Global Times said: “The exercise conducted by the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) served as a warning to Taiwan secessionists and the US after the two had made a series of provocative moves.
“The PLA is taking pragmatic steps to make sure it can effectively reunify the island of Taiwan if it comes to that.”
On Wednesday, a former US Senator and two ex-State Department officials arrived in Taiwan to talk with leaders about China.
Chris Dodd, a Democratic senator from Connecticut from 1981 to 2011, was accompanied by two former deputy secretaries of state, James Steinberg and Richard Armitage, to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
A Taiwanese defence official also claimed Taipei wants to buy long-range, air-launched cruise missiles from the US in response to Chinese aggression.
Lee Shih-chiang, head of Taiwan’s defence ministry’s strategic planning department, said Taipei would buy Lockheed Martin Corp’s (LMT.N) AGM-158 weapons system when the US allows.
The AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile can have a range of almost 1,000 km (621 miles) depending on the model.
It comes as the Australian Defence Force (ADF) begins preparation for a “worst case scenario” war with China over Taiwan in the next five years.
A diplomatic source told the Australian Financial Review: “There is a lot of development and scenario planning going on.
“It is intended to signal you are not going to blink. It is intended to demonstrate you don’t lack commitment.”
ADF chief Angus Campbell also said conflict over the island of Taiwan would be “disastrous” for the people of the region and should be avoided at all cost.
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