China renews threat against Taiwan as island holds drills

BEIJING (AP) — China has renewed its threat to attack Taiwan, warning foreign politicians who interact with the self-governing island that they are “playing with fire.” A spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said it was recommitted in the new year to “smashing plots for Taiwan independence.” The self-governing democracy separated from mainland China in 1949. The comments by Ma Xiaoguang at a biweekly news conference follow a string of visits by foreign politicians to Taiwan. Beijing sees these visits as an affront to its global presence. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s military is staging drills intended to reassure the public ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday of its ability to counter China’s threats.