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US Urges China to Cease Taiwan Pressure; Lai Slams Election Interference

Taiwanese officials slam China’s war games around island as a bid to intimidate voters ahead of next year’s presidential election.

The United States has urged China to stop pressuring Taiwan after Beijing launched war games around the self-ruled island as a “stern warning” over Taiwanese Vice President William Lai’s recent stopovers in New York and San Francisco.

The statement came as Taiwan said on Sunday that some 25 Chinese air force planes had crossed the Taiwan Straits median line over the past 24 hours.

That included Su-30 and J-11 fighter jets, according to a map the ministry published, though there was no immediate sign China was continuing its exercises for a second day.

In a statement to the Reuters news agency, a spokesperson for the US Department of State said it would continue to monitor China’s exercises closely, and urged Beijing to “cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan”.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 following a civil war that ended with the ruling Communist Party in control of the mainland. Taiwan has never been part of the People’s Republic of China, but Beijing sees the democratically-governed island as a breakaway province to be taken by force if necessary.

While the US does not maintain official ties with Taiwan, Washington is Taipei’s biggest source of weapons, and its political and military support for the territory has been a constant source of friction in its relations with Beijing.

Source : Aljazeera