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China has ramped up tensions over Taiwan once again as President Xi Jinping has sent ships on a mystery “security mission” near the island.
China’s president was on a call with two coastguard crews aboard ships on a secretive “special escort and security mission” in the East China Sea.
It is not clear what the mission involved and where exactly the crews were stationed in the East China Sea, the South China Morning Post reports.
Speaking at the Chinese coastguard’s command centre in Shanghai, Xi Jinping reportedly said: “The coastguard must effectively safeguard our rights, enforce our laws, and resolutely defend our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.”
The autocrat also said it was necessary for the Chinese coastguard to “pragmatically carry out foreign exchanges” with neighbouring powers encroaching on its territory.
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Xi made the fiery remarks after a series of heated disputes in both the East China and South China seas this year.
In September, tensions between China and the Philippines mounted as the Philippines’ coastguard said it was forced to remove a Chinese blocking net in its territory.
China denied encroaching on the Philippines’ waters and wrongly claimed the territory was its own.
The emerging superpower has also triggered fears of a Taiwan invasion with several military drills near the island territory.
Taiwanese officials said the increased military drills around August and September were “abnormal” – but China said it was merely trying to “combat the arrogance” of the island’s government.
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Speaking to Daily Express US earlier this week, military expert Brent Sadler said China would continue to “escalate” over Taiwan unless the US started to flex its muscles in the region.
He said: “The US has lots of leverage today that it is not taking advantage of.
“One, the rallying of regional partners and allies to a more forceful push-back to Chinese belligerence and aggressiveness – think Philippines around Second Thomas Shoal, Australia with AUKUS, Japan increasing defense spending over two percent in the coming years.
“The US also has a military capability and sustaining a robust military (specifically two aircraft carriers strike groups) nearly persistently in the Western Pacific for the past two years needs to be guarded and sustained at a minimum.
“But the Army needs to up its deployment patterns to the region through a more robust Pacific Pathways deployment program.”
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