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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chinese Wargames Drive Out Islanders

TAIPEI, China -- China and Taiwan ordered the evacuation of frontline islands in the Taiwan Strait on Monday but poor weather appeared to have ruled out any fresh Chinese war games.


The chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army, Fu Quanyou, said in Beijing that China must stand guard against the efforts of Western enemies who want to divide the country.


"Western enemy forces' efforts to westernize and divide China will not change and the activities of Taiwan independence forces aimed at splitting the motherland will not cease," the official Xinhua news agency reported him as saying.


China has been conducting missile tests off Taiwan and war games in the Taiwan Strait in a show of strength it says is aimed at keeping the island from declaring independence.


The United States has sent an aircraft carrier task force to the region and another is on the way.


Beijing has warned U.S. warships to stay out of the Taiwan Strait, but Washington insists it has the right to move its forces through international waters.


China signalled it would go ahead with plans for the sea, air and ground war games, ordering residents of islands it controls to evacuate their homes by Monday afternoon.


Residents of several Chinese-held islands in the Taiwan Strait were moved out and fishermen were forced to stop operations in the area.


Most residents of the tiny Taiwan-held island of Tung Chu, just 16 kilometers from the planned manoeuvres, were among those evacuated. An air-raid drill sent those staying behind scurrying for cover.