Taiwan says it detected “several” Chinese warplanes and warships taking part in military exercises around the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, in what could be a possible mock attack on the island.
The ministry said some of the planes and ships crossed the sensitive median line in the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from the Chinese mainland.
“Our military has issued warnings, deployed combat air patrol boats and warships, and activated land-based missile systems in response to the situation,” the ministry said.
The statement did not specify exactly how many Chinese planes and ships were detected.
The Chinese military has yet to issue a statement on the purpose of Saturday’s drills.
The news follows a series of military drills China has conducted around Taiwan since Thursday following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to the self-governing democratic island earlier this week.
The Chinese Communist Party considers Taiwan its territory, although it has never controlled it, and has long pledged to “reunify” the island with the Chinese mainland – by force if necessary.
Pelosi shrugged off his furious opposition to his visit by landing in Taipei on Tuesday night as part of a larger Asia tour that ended Friday with a final stop in Japan.
But the full ramifications of his visit are only beginning to emerge, with China stepping up military exercises in the skies and waters around Taiwan and ending cooperation with the United States on various issues.
On Friday, 68 Chinese fighter jets were reported across the Taiwan Strait, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry. Of these, 49 entered the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone – an airspace buffer commonly referred to as ADIZ. That was just a few planes shy of the record set last year when 56 Chinese fighter jets entered the ADIZ on the same day.
Nineteen of the warplanes also crossed the median line across the Taiwan Strait on Friday, the ministry said.
On Thursday, China launched 11 ballistic missiles – some of which flew over the island of Taiwan and landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, prompting Tokyo to file a formal complaint with Beijing. It was the first time that China had sent missiles over the island.
Also on Thursday, two Chinese drones flew near Japan’s Okinawa prefecture, prompting Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force to send fighter jets in response.
The exercises are expected to last until Sunday local time in Beijing, according to Chinese state media.
The deteriorating situation in the Taiwan Strait has sparked a diplomatic storm, with China lashing out at countries that have criticized its drills and some regional powers calling for de-escalation.
Tensions were high at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers’ meeting in Cambodia this week, where members had originally planned to discuss three main topics: the crisis of Myanmar, the South China Sea and the war in Ukraine.
But Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan added “a fourth hot stone … which has led to heated discussions on cross-Strait relations,” Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said at a Saturday press conference in Phnom. Penh.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken both attended the ASEAN meeting; On Thursday, Wang decried Pelosi’s visit as demonstrating the “bankruptcy” of US politics and credibility, calling it “manic, irresponsible and highly irrational behavior.”
A day later, after Beijing fired its missiles at Taiwan, Blinken said China “chose to overreact and use President Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around Taiwan.” around the Taiwan Strait”.
On Saturday, Sokhonn described the meeting as lively, saying he should call on all ministers to speak in a calm, dignified, polite, civilized and diplomatic manner.
“There were strong arguments, but in our opinion it is better that we exchange words than less friendly means,” he said.
Japan and other G7 economies have urged China to end its military exercises and maintain the status quo in the region.
Beijing has ignored these calls. Instead, he reacted by canceling future phone calls between Chinese and US defense leaders and annual naval meetings between the two countries. He also canceled scheduled meetings between Chinese and Japanese officials.
China has also summoned ambassadors from the United States, Japan and various European countries.
On Friday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced a series of countermeasures against the United States, including sanctions against Pelosi and his immediate family.
China has also suspended bilateral climate talks and suspended cooperation on issues such as the repatriation of illegal immigrants and the investigation of transnational crimes and drug operations.
“We should not hijack cooperation on issues of global concern because of the differences between our two countries,” Blinken told reporters on Saturday, speaking in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.
China’s decision to suspend climate talks “could have lasting consequences for the future of the region, the future of our planet”, and would punish the developing world rather than the United States, he said. -he adds.