Taiwan says Chinese planes, ships conduct mock attack drill

  • Chinese planes carry out a mock attack
  • Blinken calls the cessation of dialogue with China “irresponsible”
  • China calls on US to ‘correct mistakes’

TAIPEI, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Taiwanese officials said Chinese warplanes and warships repeated an attack on the island on Saturday, part of Beijing’s retaliation for a visit by the House Speaker U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi, which also saw him disrupt talks with the U.S. on issues such as defense and climate change.

Pelosi’s brief visit this week to the self-governing island that China considers its territory has infuriated Beijing and prompted unprecedented military drills that have included ballistic missiles fired at the capital, Taipei.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused China of taking “irresponsible steps” in blocking key communication channels with Washington, and said its actions on Taiwan showed a shift in priority given to peaceful resolution to the use of force. Read more

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The Chinese exercises – centered on six sites around the island – began on Thursday and are expected to last until noon on Sunday.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said several Chinese ships and planes had carried out missions in the Taiwan Strait, with some crossing the median line, an unofficial buffer zone separating the two sides, in what the Taiwanese military described as a mock attack on the island.

China’s Eastern Theater Command said it has continued to conduct joint sea and air drills north, southwest and east of Taiwan. He said his goal was to test the system’s land strike and sea assault capabilities.

Chinese warships and planes continued to “thrust” the center line of the Taiwan Strait on Saturday afternoon, a person familiar with security planning said.

Off the east coast of Taiwan and near the Japanese islands, Chinese warships and drones simulated attacks on American and Japanese warships, the person added.

The Taiwanese military issued a warning when deploying aerial reconnaissance patrol forces and ships to monitor and standby land-based missiles.

The island’s defense ministry released a photo of a Taiwanese sailor on a frigate looking at a nearby Chinese warship off Taiwan’s east coast. “Absolutely not Photoshopped!” the caption read.

He also said he fired flares Friday night to warn seven drones flying over his Kinmen Islands and unidentified planes flying over his Matsu Islands. Both island groups are close to the coast of mainland China.

Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday evening during the highest-level visit by a US official to the island 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 it was ending dialogue with the United States in a range of areas, including contacts between military commanders at the theater level and climate change.

Speaking during a visit to the Philippines, Blinken said the United States had heard the concerns of its allies over what he called dangerous and destabilizing actions by China around Taiwan, but that Washington would remain stable in its handling of the situation and would seek to avoid an escalation of the situation.

He said China’s cessation of bilateral dialogue in eight key areas was a move that would punish the world, not just the United States.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a press briefing on Friday that Blinken was spreading “disinformation”, adding, “We would like to issue a warning to the United States: do not act recklessly, don’t create a bigger crisis,” Wang said.

Jing Quan, a senior official at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, echoed this, saying during a briefing: “The only way out of this crisis is for the US side to take immediate action to rectify its errors and eliminate the serious impact of Pelosi’s visit”.

“PROVOCATIVE MILITARY EXERCISES”

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Friday the United States had nothing to rectify.

“The Chinese can do a lot to reduce tensions simply by stopping these provocative military exercises and ending the rhetoric,” he told reporters.

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 Gen. Mark Milley. Although such talks have been infrequent, officials said they were important in an emergency.

Kirby said it was not unusual for China to end military talks during times of tension, but “all channels” between military leaders had not been cut.

Speaking in Japan after meeting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Pelosi said his trip to Asia was “not aimed at changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region”. Read more

Japan’s Defense Ministry reported that up to four missiles flew over Taiwan’s 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 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he strongly condemned China’s missile launches as “a serious issue regarding Japan’s security and the security of the Japanese people”, the Foreign Ministry said. foreign.

The Chinese Embassy in Australia, meanwhile, said Beijing hopes Australia will be cautious on Taiwanese issues and avoid being led by others, which could cause new problems in relations between the two. two countries.

His spokesperson’s remarks, posted on the embassy’s website, commented on an earlier statement issued by Blinken and the foreign ministers of Australia and Japan expressing concern about China’s military exercises.

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 its relations with Taiwan are an internal matter and that it reserves the right to bring the island under its control, by force if necessary. Taiwan rejects China’s claims that only the Taiwanese people can decide their future.

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Reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei, David Brunnstrom in Manila and Brenda Goh in Shanghai Writing by Tony Munroe and Greg Torode Editing by Robert Birsel and Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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