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Chinese warship starts live-fire drills near Taiwan

A Chinese warship in seas facing the Taiwan Strait began live-fire drills on Saturday as Beijing launched military exercises it calls a warning against what it considers pro-independence forces in Taiwan.

The amphibious landing ship – capable of carrying troops and vehicles – fired multiple artillery rounds in the Luoyan Bay area on the coast of Fujian province, about 50 km (30 miles) northwest of the Matsu islands near the mainland that are controlled by Taiwan, as reported by Reuters.

China views the democratically governed island of Taiwan as its own territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control. Taiwan’s government strongly objects to China’s claims.

Smoke and muzzle flares were visible on the stern of the warship as it fired shells at targets on land and at sea. Fishing boats and cargo vessels cruised nearby, steering clear of the exercise zone.

The warship did not sail towards the windswept Matsu islands, controlled by Taiwan since the Republic of China government fled to Taipei in 1949 after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s Communist forces.

The area is considered a likely early target for Beijing in the event of a military escalation.

China’s Eastern Theater Command, one of the five commands of the People’s Liberation Army that oversees the East China Sea including the Taiwan Strait, said combat readiness patrols would be conducted around Taiwan for three days as a “serious” warning against pro-independence forces in Taiwan and to safeguard China’s territorial integrity.

Drills to the north, south and east of the island of Taiwan were also planned, after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the United States on Wednesday, infuriating Beijing.

Prevail Inegbenose

Prevail Inegbenose is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Spark Media & Entertainment Ventures, the Publisher of Spark News Daily - Nigeria's most sought-after online newspaper in Government, Politics, Sport, Entertainment and Religion. Prevail Inegbenose studied Mass Communication from the prestigious Auchi Polytechnic Auchi and graduated in 2007. He is an experienced journalist with 16 years of active and practical journalism. Prevail Inegbenose is the Lead Pastor, House of God Int'l - Rest Tabernacle, Abuja - Nigeria. Tel: 08039564796.

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