LIVE: China-Taiwan News Updates China conducted its largest-ever military drills outside Taiwan on Thursday, firing ballistic missiles and deploying fighter aircraft in a show of force that Washington denounced as an outrageous response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island. The US House Speaker was the most prominent US politician to visit Taiwan in years, ignoring Beijing’s stern warnings, which consider the self-ruled island as a danger.
the island is its home country. China responded by launching a number of drills in various areas near Taiwan, some of which were within 20 kilometers (12 miles) off the island’s coast and crossed some of the busiest maritime channels in the world.
White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters that China “has decided to overreact and exploit the speaker’s visit as a pretext to intensify aggressive military action in and around the Taiwan Strait.”
Although the “temperature” is high, he continued, tensions “may be very simply reduced by just having the Chinese halt their extremely provocative military drills.”
According to the Chinese military, the drills, which started at noon local time (0400 GMT), comprised a “conventional missile firepower attack” in the waters to the east of Taiwan.
Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said five of the missiles were thought to have landed in his country’s exclusive economic zone. Tokyo has protested the drills diplomatically with Beijing.
During Thursday’s drills, 22 Chinese fighter planes were briefly seen crossing the “median line” of the Taiwan Strait, according to Taipei’s defence ministry.
A number of tiny missiles were seen by AFP journalists on the border island of Pingtan shooting into the sky, followed by white smoke plumes and loud booms.
On the mainland, AFP observed a group of five military helicopters flying at a rather low height close to a well-known tourist attraction at what is reportedly China’s closest point to Taiwan.
The drills, according to Beijing, will continue through Sunday noon.
Beijing has justified the exercises as “just and necessary,” blaming Washington and its partners for the escalation.
Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, said during a routine briefing on Thursday that “in the face of this brazen provocation, we have to take lawful and necessary actions to preserve the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The intention, according to military specialists who spoke to CCTV of Beijing, was to simulate a potential island blockade and confine the island’s pro-independence troops.
According to Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at China’s Naval Research Institute, “the goal is to demonstrate that the PLA is capable of controlling all the exits of the Taiwan Island, which will be a tremendous deterrence to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that Washington has recently gotten in touch with Beijing “at every level of government” to urge tranquilly and stability.
Blinken addressed ministers from the ASEAN’s 10 members in Phnom Penh, “I really hope that Beijing would not create a crisis or look for an excuse to step up its aggressive military action.
At the same conference, Japan’s foreign minister demanded that China immediately cease its military exercises near Taiwan. – Ships warned; planes cancelled
Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters, “China’s actions this time have a major influence on the peace and stability of the area and the international community.
The movements are occurring along some of the busiest shipping routes in the world, which are used to transport semiconductors and electrical products made in East Asian manufacturing centres to international markets.
Ships are advised not to enter the locations utilised for the Chinese drills by Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau.
The exercises, according to the Taiwanese government, will affect 18 international routes that pass through its flight information zone (FIR).
The 23 million residents of Taiwan have long faced the prospect of invasion, but under President Xi Jinping, China’s most forceful leader in a generation, that threat has grown more serious.
Before a major governing party gathering this fall, where Xi is likely to be handed a historic third term, analysts said the Chinese leadership is eager to project power. However, they said that China is not now attempting to exacerbate the situation beyond its capacity to control.
The last thing Xi wants is an unintentional conflict, according to Titus Chen, an associate professor of political science at Taiwan’s National Sun Yat-Sen University.