Taiwan not intimidated by Chinese military drills: president

President Tsai Ing-wen said on Tuesday that Taiwan ‘will not make any compromise on our territory for even one inch.’ (Reuters)
Updated 16 April 2019
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Taiwan not intimidated by Chinese military drills: president

  • China’s People’s Liberation Army said its warships, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft had conducted ‘necessary drills’ around Taiwan on Monday
  • Taiwan scrambled jets and ships to monitor the Chinese forces

TAIPEI: Taiwan is not intimidated by China’s military drills this week, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Tuesday, after the latest Chinese military maneuvers were denounced by a senior US official as “coercion” and a threat to stability in the region.
China’s People’s Liberation Army said its warships, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft had conducted “necessary drills” around Taiwan on Monday, though it described them as routine.
“We will not make any compromise on our territory for even one inch. We always hold on tight to our democracy and freedom,” Tsai told reporters at an event to mark Taiwan-US ties in Taipei, adding US arm sales to Taiwan would help reinforce the capability of Taiwan’s Air Force.
Tsai was speaking at a forum co-hosted by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to mark the 40th anniversary of Taiwan-US ties, following Washington’s decision to ditch formal recognition of Taiwan in favor of China in 1979.
Taiwan scrambled jets and ships to monitor the Chinese forces on Monday, its defense ministry said, accusing Beijing of “trying to change the status quo of the Taiwan Strait.”
China has repeatedly carried out what it calls “island encirclement patrols” in the past few years.
A delegation led by former US speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, is in Taipei to mark 40 years since the signing of the Taiwan Relations Act, which governs US-Taiwan relations, and to reaffirm Washington’s commitment.
Ryan said the United States considers any military threat to Taiwan a concern and urged China to stop, saying the moves were counterproductive.
The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide the island with the means to defend itself and is its main source of arms.
China has stepped up pressure on Taiwan. Beijing suspects Taiwan’s president is pushing for the island’s formal independence, a red line for China which has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.
Tsai says she wants to maintain the status quo with China but will defend Taiwan’s security and democracy.
The visit by US officials comes just weeks after Tsai said the United States was responding positively to Taipei’s requests for new arms sales to bolster its defenses in the face of growing pressure from China.
Last month, Washington sent Navy and Coast Guard ships through the narrow strait separating the island from the mainland, part of an increase in the frequency of US movement through the strategic waterway to show support for Taipei.


Sri Lanka detains 18 in hunt for those behind bombings

Updated 1 min 22 sec ago
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Sri Lanka detains 18 in hunt for those behind bombings

  • Death toll has rise to 359
  • “Based on information, we raided three locations and arrested 17 suspects,” police said

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan security forces arrested 18 suspects linked to the country’s deadly Islamist Easter bombings in overnight raids, police said Wednesday.
Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the suspects were held in a search operation carried out by police and security forces using emergency powers introduced since Sunday’s attacks which left more than 359 dead.
“Based on information, we raided three locations and arrested 17 suspects,” Gunasekera said. “Another suspect was arrested at a fourth location.”
Police say they have so far taken 58 people into detention since Sunday.
Gunasekera said the raids were part of security operations to track down any individuals linked to suicide bombing strike against three churches and three hotels which the Daesh group has claimed.
The Sri Lankan government has blamed a local Islamist group, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), for the attacks which left 359 dead and 500 injured.
The security swoop came after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that more Islamist radicals could be on the run and he could not rule out the possibility of further bombings.
“There are a few more people on the run,” Wickremesinghe said. “So we’ve got to apprehend them.”
In addition to arming security forces with powers to detain suspects for up to three months, the authorities have also imposed a night-time curfew since Sunday’s deadly attacks.