*** ----> Tensions rise as China ‘encircles’ Taiwan with war games | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Tensions rise as China ‘encircles’ Taiwan with war games

AFP | Beijing

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

China yesterday encircled Taiwan with naval vessels and military aircraft in war games, as it vowed the blood of “independence forces” on the self-ruled island would flow.

The two days of drills are part of an escalating campaign of intimidation by China that has seen it carry out a series of largescale military exercises around Taiwan in recent years.

The drills come after Lai Ching-te was sworn in as Taiwan’s new president this week and made an inauguration speech that China denounced as a “confession of independence”. As the drills got underway, China’s military said they would serve as “strong punishment for the separatist acts of ‘Taiwan independence’ forces”. Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin then delivered a warning that included language more commonly used by China’s propaganda outlets.

“Taiwan independence forces will be left with their heads broken and blood flowing after colliding against the great... trend of China achieving complete unification,” Wang told reporters. The United Nations called for all sides to avoid escalation, while the United States -- Taiwan’s strongest ally and military backer -- “strongly” urged China to act with restraint.