Louise Delmotte Associated Press A Taiwanese honor guard at the flag-raising ceremony in Taipei on Friday.
France Media Agency in Beijing
China's military vowed Friday to “crush” any push for Taiwan's independence, on the eve of a crucial presidential election on the island that Beijing says is part of its territory.
“The Chinese People's Liberation Army maintains high vigilance at all times and will take all necessary measures to firmly crush attempts at 'Taiwan independence' in any form,” said the Ministry of Defense spokesperson Zhang Xiaogang in a statement.
He accused Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party of pushing the island “toward dangerous conditions of war” by purchasing weapons from the United States.
Taiwan, a territory of 23 million inhabitants hailed as a model of democracy in Asia, is located just 180 kilometers from the coast of communist China, which considers it as one of its provinces to be attached to the rest of the country, by force if necessary.
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Saturday's vote is being closely followed by Beijing, Washington and the markets, with Taiwan – the world's leading producer of semiconductors – also being a key player in the economy.
All week, Beijing has increased its diplomatic and military pressure on the island. On Thursday, five Chinese balloons again crossed the median line separating the archipelago from China, according to the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense, which also spotted ten planes and six warships.