Taiwan says Chinese planes, ships carry out attack simulation exercise

On Saturday, officials on the island said, Chinese planes and warships trained for an attack on Taiwan, in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit there, which also saw Beijing halt dialogue with the United States in several regions.

Pelosi’s surprise brief visit this week to the self-ruled island claimed by China has angered Beijing and sparked unprecedented military exercises that included the firing of ballistic missiles into the capital, Taipei. The Chinese exercises are scheduled to continue until midday on Sunday.

On Saturday morning, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said multiple Chinese ships and aircraft carried out missions in the Taiwan Strait, with some crossing the center line, an unofficial barrier separating the two sides, movements the Taiwan military believes are part of a simulated attack on mainland Taiwan. Island.

Taiwan’s military issued a warning and deployed aerial reconnaissance patrol forces and observation ships while placing missiles on the beach on alert.

A Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft flies over the 68 nautical-mile scenic area, one of mainland China’s closest points to Taiwan Island, in Pingtan Island, Fujian Province, China, August 5, 2022. (REUTERS Photo )

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry also said it fired flares late on Friday to warn seven drones flying over the Kinmen islands and unidentified planes flying over its Matsu islands. The two groups of islands are located near the southeast coast of China.

Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday, the highest visit by a US official to the island in decades, despite Chinese warnings, and fueled a wave of retaliation, including sanctions against Pelosi herself.
Shortly after its delegation left Japan on Friday, the last leg of its week-long Asia tour, China announced that it had suspended dialogue with the United States in a number of areas including between theater-level military leaders and climate change.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it also suspended exchanges on fighting cross-border crime and drug smuggling. The United States described the response as “irresponsible.”

On Friday, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said it had conducted air and naval exercises in north, southwest and east Taiwan to test the forces’ “combined combat capabilities”.

China Taiwan us The missile force of the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command conducts conventional missile tests in the waters off the east coast of Taiwan, from an undisclosed location on August 4, 2022 (Image via Reuters)

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Washington had made it clear to Beijing repeatedly that it was not seeking a crisis over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

“There is no justification for this extreme and disproportionate military response and escalation,” he told a news conference on the sidelines of regional meetings in Cambodia.

“Now, they have taken serious business to a new level.”

Blinken stressed that the United States would not take measures to provoke a crisis but would support allies and conduct standard air and sea transit through the Taiwan Strait.

“We will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” he said.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Chinese officials have not responded to calls from top Pentagon officials this week, but that this is seen as an expression of discontent with Pelosi’s trip rather than a severing of the channel between top defense officials including the United States. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“I heard that US Secretary of State Blinken held his press conference and spread some misinformation and did not speak truthfully,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a media briefing on Friday.

China Taiwan United States US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, left, and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Chian during a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, August 3, 2022. (AP/PTI)

“We would like to send a warning to the United States: Do not act recklessly, and do not create a bigger crisis,” Wang said.
Jing Quan, a senior official with the Chinese Embassy in Washington, echoed what he said in a nutshell: “The only way out of this crisis is for the US side to take immediate measures to correct its mistakes and eliminate the dangerous impact of Pelosi’s visit.”

‘Basically irresponsible’

White House national security spokesman John Kirby responded that China’s suspension of some channels of communication was “fundamentally irresponsible.”

There is nothing here the United States can correct. “The Chinese can go a long way to de-escalate tensions simply by stopping these provocative military exercises and ending the rhetoric,” Kirby told reporters.

China did not mention suspending military talks at the highest levels, such as with Austin and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. While such conversations have been rare, officials said they are important in the event of an emergency.

Kirby said it was not unusual for China to shut down military talks in times of tension but that “not all channels were cut” between military leaders.

Security analysts, diplomats and US officials say the severing of communications links risks an accidental escalation of tension.

“Part of this overreaction has been to severely limit their defense engagements when any responsible nation realizes that we need them most now,” Acting Pentagon spokesman Todd Presley said.

Speaking in Japan after meeting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Pelosi said her Asian trip “is not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region.”

The Japanese Ministry of Defense stated that up to four missiles flew over the Taiwanese capital, which is unprecedented. It also said that five of the nine missiles fired toward its territory landed in its exclusive economic zone, also the first, sparking a diplomatic protest.

Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s communists took power in Beijing after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang nationalists in a civil war, forcing them to retreat to the island.

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

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