(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
TAIPEI - Taiwan is confident of its defenses and responded quickly to Chinese air force "island encirclement" drills this week, the self-ruled island's government said, denouncing the rise in China's military deployments as irresponsible.
China considers self-ruled and democratic Taiwan to be its sacred territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring what it views as a wayward province under Chinese control.
Tensions have risen in recent days after a senior Chinese diplomat threatened that China would invade Taiwan if any US warships made port visits there.
On Monday, Chinese jets carried out "island encirclement patrols" around Taiwan, with state media showing pictures of bombers with cruise missiles slung under their wings.
And on Tuesday US President Donald Trump signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2018 fiscal year, which authorizes the possibility of mutual visits by navy vessels between Taiwan and the United States.
Such visits would be the first since the United States ended formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979 and established ties with Beijing.
Taiwan presidential spokesman Alex Huang, speaking to Taiwan media in comments reported late on Wednesday, said the defense ministry had kept a close watch on the patrols and responded immediately and properly.