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China declares military exercise opposite Taiwan after warning Pelosi to scrap plans to go to

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China has given no details on what varieties of units will participate in exercises planned for opposite Taiwan. On this file photo, a missile launches from a Chinese submarine.

China Photos | Getty Images News | Getty Images

China said it was conducting military exercises Saturday off its coast opposite Taiwan after warning Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the U.S. House of Representatives to scrap possible plans to go to the island democracy, which Beijing claims as a part of its territory.

The ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, was conducting “live-fire exercises” near the Pingtan islands off Fujian province from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., the official Xinhua News Agency said. The Maritime Safety Administration warned ships to avoid the world.

Such exercises often involve artillery. The one-sentence announcement gave no indication whether Saturday’s exercise also might include missiles, fighter planes or other weapons.

Pelosi, who can be the highest-ranking American elected official to go to Taiwan since 1997, has yet to verify whether she is going to go. President Xi Jinping warned his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, in a phone call Thursday against “external interference” in Beijing’s dealings with the island.

China says Taiwan has no right to conduct foreign relations. It sees visits by American officials as encouragement for the island to make its decades-old de facto independence official.

The Ministry of Defense warned Washington this week not to permit Pelosi, who’s Biden’s equal in rank as leader of one among three branches of presidency, to go to Taiwan. A spokesman said the PLA would take unspecified “strong measures” to stop pro-independence activity.

The PLA has flown growing numbers of fighter planes and bombers near Taiwan and has prior to now fired missiles into shipping lanes to the island.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war that ended with a communist victory on the mainland.

The 2 governments say they’re one country but disagree over which is entitled to national leadership. They haven’t any official relations but are linked by billions of dollars in trade and investment.

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