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    China Renews Threat Against Taiwan as Island Holds Drills

    China Renews Threat Against Taiwan as Island Holds Drills

    Beijing — renewed its threats Wednesday to attack Taiwan and warned that foreign politicians who interact with the self-governing island are “playing with fire.”

    A spokesperson for China's Taiwan Affairs Office said the country was recommitted in the year to “safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “smashing plots for Taiwan independence” on the self-governing democracy that separated from mainland China in 1949.

    “The malicious support for Taiwan independence among anti-China elements in a few foreign countries are a deliberate provocation,” Ma Xiaoguang said at a biweekly news conference.

    China views Taiwan as a Chinese territory that must be brought under Beijing's control, by force if necessary. A string of visits in recent months by foreign politicians to Taiwan, including by then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and numerous politicians from the European Union, spurred displays of might from both sides.

    This week, Taiwan's military is staging drills intended to reassure the public of its ability to counter China's threats ahead of this month's Lunar New Year holiday.

    “The most important thing is to maintain the safety of our airspace and national security,” air force Lt. Col. Wu Bong-yeng told reporters at Hsinchu Air just south of the capital, Taipei.

    The drills coincide with a visit from German and Lithuanian lawmakers — the latter Baltic…

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