China says aim of its drills near Taiwan is to combat ‘arrogance’ of separatists

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s recent drills near Taiwan are aimed at combating the “arrogance” of separatist forces, the Chinese government said on Wednesday, after Taipei reported a rise in military activity in recent weeks, including exercises on land facing the island.

Taiwan has said this month that it had observed dozens of fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships and the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, operating nearby.

The increased frequency of China’s military activities has raised the risk of events “getting out of hand” and sparking an accidental clash, the island’s defence minister said on Saturday.

Asked at a regular news briefing in Beijing about the rise in Chinese drills, and Taiwan’s concerns about increased risk, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian said the People’s Liberation Army had carried out a “series” of drills.

“The purpose is to resolutely combat the arrogance of Taiwan independence separatist forces and their actions to seek independence,” Zhu said.

“The provocation of Taiwan independence continues all day long,” she added.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Gerry Doyle)