BEIJING - China's office handling Taiwan affairs said Wednesday that recent Chinese military activity near the self-ruled island is aimed at "preventing Taiwan's independence activity and interference from external forces."
A spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Chinese government's State Council made the remarks at a news conference days after Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone on a number of occasions.
The remarks suggest the Chinese military move, which has led the United States to express concerns, was partially in response to a recent joint military exercise in waters near Taiwan that involved the United States, Japan and Britain.
The spokesman, Ma Xiaoguang, leveled criticism at Taiwan's independence-leaning ruling Democratic Progressive Party and its "collusion with external forces," and justified the Chinese military activity as designed to "protect the sovereignty and territory of the state."
China regards Taiwan as a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. Taiwan and mainland China have been separately governed since they split as a result of a civil war in 1949.