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US official says China’s drills near Taiwan threaten stability in region

Chinese bombers and warships conducted drills around Taiwan on Monday as a senior US official denounced the maneuvers as “coercion” and a threat to stability in the region. “Any attempt to influence Taiwan through threats or coercion, we believe, destabilizes the region and threatens stability in the Taiwan Strait,” said James Moriarty, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan. The official was speaking at a ceremony to mark the last four decades of US-Taiwan relations. China’s military said its warships, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft had conducted “necessary drills” around Taiwan on Monday, and described them as routine. China has repeatedly carried out “island encirclement patrols” in the past few years. The exercise “damages the cross strait relationship,” Moriarty said at the institute’s new $256 million facility, the de facto US embassy in Taiwan, Reuters reported. A delegation led by former US speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, was in Taipei to mark 40 years since the signing of the Taiwan Relations Act, which governs US-Taiwan relations.