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Taiwan says China’s using military exercises to ‘prepare for invasion’

China has used U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as a pretext to prepare for an invasion of the self-ruled territory, Taipei’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Tuesday.

Speaking during a press conference in Taipei, Wu said: “China has used the drills in its military playbook to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan,” adding: “China’s real intention is to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and entire region.”

Beijing launched unprecedented military drills in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit earlier this month to the self-governing island — which China considers as its territory — and also suspended climate and military talks with the U.S. Beijing also announced sanctions against Pelosi and her close family, accusing her of violating China’s sovereignty over Taiwan.

The “One China” policy is the diplomatic acknowledgement of China’s position that there is only one Chinese government. In this framework, the U.S. acknowledges, but doesn’t endorse, Beijing’s claims that Taiwan is part of China.

Tensions in the region surged on Monday, after Beijing announced more military drills in the seas and airspace around Taiwan, a day after the scheduled end of its exercises in the area.

Wu called on Taipei’s “like-minded partners” to “safeguard peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” China is “conducting large-scale military exercises, missile launches as well as cyberattacks, a disinformation campaign and economic coercion in an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan,” Wu said during the conference.

Beijing’s ships have regularly crossed the median line, an unofficial demarcation between China and Taiwan that neither side normally crosses.

But Washington has sought to downplay the risk of escalation. In his first comments on the issue since Pelosi’s trip, U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday said: “I’m not worried,” before adding: “I’m concerned that they’re moving as much as they are. But I don’t think they’re going to do anything more.”

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