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China’s military conducts assault drills in seas near Taiwan

August 17, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this July 1, 2021, file photo, a military band rehearses for a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Chinese Communist Party at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing. Chinese fighter jets, anti-submarine aircraft and combat ships conducted assault drills near Taiwan on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, with the People’s Liberation Army saying the exercise was necessary to safeguard China's sovereignty. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, FIle)
FILE - In this July 1, 2021, file photo, a military band rehearses for a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Chinese Communist Party at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing. Chinese fighter jets, anti-submarine aircraft and combat ships conducted assault drills near Taiwan on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, with the People’s Liberation Army saying the exercise was necessary to safeguard China's sovereignty. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, FIle)
FILE - In this July 1, 2021, file photo, a military band rehearses for a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Chinese Communist Party at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing. Chinese fighter jets, anti-submarine aircraft and combat ships conducted assault drills near Taiwan on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, with the People’s Liberation Army saying the exercise was necessary to safeguard China's sovereignty. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, FIle)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Chinese fighter jets, anti-submarine aircraft and combat ships conducted assault drills near Taiwan on Tuesday with the People’s Liberation Army saying the exercise was necessary to safeguard China’s sovereignty.

China has stepped up military exercises around self-ruled Taiwan, which it considers its own territory.

Recent U.S.-Taiwan provocations severely violated Chinese sovereignty, Eastern Theater Command spokesman Shi Yi said in a statement.

The assault drills were held near Taiwan’s southwestern and southeastern waters.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said in a statement it had fully grasped and assessed the situation in the sea and air and was prepared to respond in each respect.

In June, China flew a record 28 fighter jets toward Taiwan.

Last week, officers from the U.S. and Taiwanese coast guards met to discuss improving cooperation and communication.

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The meeting followed the announcement of plans by the U.S. to sell 40 self-propelled howitzers to Taiwan in a deal valued at $750 million that drew strong condemnation from Beijing.

The U.S. maintains only unofficial relations with Taiwan in deference to Beijing, but it is the island’s key arms supplier and closest political ally. It has been boosting U.S.-Taiwan ties amid deteriorating relations with China.