TAIPEI – Taiwan officials said Chinese planes and warships rehearsed an attack on the island on Saturday, as part of Beijing’s retaliation for a visit there by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. which also stopped talks with the US.
Pelosi’s brief visit this week to the self-governing island China considers its territory angered Beijing and sparked unprecedented military drills in Taiwan that included ballistic missiles fired at the capital, Taipei.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused China of taking “irresponsible steps” by shutting off key communication channels with Washington, saying its actions on Taiwan showed a move from prioritizing peaceful resolution toward using of the strength.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said a number of Chinese ships and planes conducted missions in the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, with some crossing the median line, an unofficial buffer separating the two sides, in what Taiwan’s military described as a simulation attack on the island.
The ministry later said that Taiwan sent planes to warn 20 Chinese planes, including 14 that crossed the median line. It also detected 14 Chinese military ships carrying out activities around the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said in a statement.
China’s East Theater Command said it had continued to hold joint sea and air exercises to the north, southwest and east of Taiwan. He said his goal was to test the system’s ground-attack and sea-assault capabilities.
The Chinese exercises, centered in six locations around the island, began on Thursday and are scheduled to last until noon on Sunday.
Chinese warships and planes continued to “press” the median line of the Taiwan Strait on Saturday afternoon, a person familiar with the security planning said.
Off Taiwan’s east coast and near Japanese home islands, Chinese warships and drones simulated attacks on US and Japanese warships, the person added.
Taiwan’s military issued a warning as it deployed aerial reconnaissance patrol forces and ships to monitor and put on standby land-based missiles.
The island’s Ministry of Defense released a photo of a Taiwanese sailor on a frigate looking at a nearby Chinese warship off Taiwan’s east coast. “Absolutely not photoshopped!” read the caption.
He also said he fired flares on Friday night to warn seven drones flying over his Kinmen Islands and unidentified aircraft flying over his Matsu Islands. Both groups of islands are close to the coast of China.
“China’s military exercises unilaterally changed the current situation in the region and seriously damaged the peace across the Taiwan Strait,” Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said.
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday in the highest-level visit to the island by a US official in decades, despite Chinese warnings.
Shortly after its delegation left Japan on Friday, the last leg of a week-long tour of Asia, China announced that it was in talks with the United States in a number of areas.
Speaking during a visit to the Philippines, Blinken said the United States had been listening to allies’ concerns about what he called dangerous and destabilizing actions by China around Taiwan, but Washington would stand firm in its handling of the situation and try to avoid an escalation of the situation.
He said that China’s cessation of bilateral dialogue in eight key areas were measures that would punish the world.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a news conference on Friday that Blinken was spreading “misinformation,” adding: “We want to issue a warning to the United States: don’t act rashly, don’t create a bigger crisis.”
‘PROVOCATIVE MILITARY EXERCISES’
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Friday that the Chinese “can do a lot to reduce tensions simply by stopping these provocative military exercises and ending the rhetoric.”
China has not mentioned a suspension of military talks at the highest levels, such as with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley. While those conversations have been rare, officials have said they are important in the event of an emergency.
Kirby said it was not unusual for China to shut down military talks at times of tension, but that “all channels had not been cut” between military leaders.
Speaking in Japan after meeting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Pelosi said her Asia trip was “not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region.”
The Japanese Ministry of Defense reported that up to four missiles flew over the Taiwanese capital, which is unprecedented. It also said that five of the nine missiles fired at its territory landed in its exclusive economic zone.
Kishida told visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he strongly condemned China’s missile launches as “a serious problem related to the security of Japan and the security of the Japanese people,” the Ministry of Defense said. External relationships.
A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Japan said on Saturday: “Japan is adding embellishments and being manipulative, and has selfish desires and evil intentions. Once again, we solemnly urge the Japanese side not to play the political game of “using Taiwan to contain China” and refrain from taking the wrong path.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy in Australia said that Beijing hopes Australia will be prudent in Taiwan affairs and avoid being led by others that could cause new problems for their ties.
Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s communists seized power in Beijing after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang nationalists in a civil war, prompting their retreat to the island.
Beijing says that its relations with Taiwan are an internal matter and that it reserves the right to control the island, by force if necessary. Taiwan rejects China’s claims saying that only the people of Taiwan can decide its future.
(Reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei, David Brunnstrom in Manila, Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Meg Shen in Hong Kong, additional reporting by Ryan Woo; Writing by Tony Munroe and Greg Torode Editing by Robert Birsel and Frances Kerry)