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    Taiwan’s Tsai Visits Base as China Protests US Ship Passage

    Taiwan’s Tsai Visits Base as China Protests US Ship Passage

    CHIAYI, Taiwan — Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visited a base Friday to observe drills while rival protested the passage of a U.S. Navy destroyer through the Taiwan Strait, as tensions between the sides showed no sign of abating in the new year.

    Beijing claims self-governing Taiwan as Chinese territory to be brought under its control by force if necessary, and regularly protests the passage of U.S. and other foreign warships through the Taiwan Strait, one of the world's busiest waterways.

    Tsai's visit to the base in the central county of Chiayi comes as Taiwan is seeking to boost its defenses against the rising threat from China. That includes expanding the domestic shipbuilding and arms industry, buying more defensive weaponry from the U.S. and extending the national service requirement for all men from four months to a full year beginning in 2024.

    Along with observing the display by an mechanized infantry battalion, Tsai visited the force's Fourth Tactical Fighter Wing, whose pilots are largely responsible for intercepting Chinese military aircraft approaching the the midline of the Taiwan Strait.

    “I would like to reiterate that the continuous activities of the People's Liberation Army (around Taiwan) are not helpful to cross-strait relations nor to the peace and stability of the region,” Tsai said.

    “As we are facing the expansion of authoritarianism, we can only but strengthen the…

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