Angry China fired missiles near Taiwan in exercises after Pelosi’s visit

  • China holds military exercises after US official visit to Taiwan
  • China is angry with the United States and Taiwan, and calls the exercises an internal thing
  • Taiwan says 22 Chinese fighter jets crossed the center line
  • Japan says five missiles landed in its economic zone
  • The exercises are scheduled to continue across Taiwan until Sunday

TAIPEI (Reuters) – China deployed dozens of live planes and missiles near Taiwan on Thursday in its largest maneuver in the Taiwan Strait, a day after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a solidarity trip to the self-ruled island. .

The Chinese military has confirmed the launch of several conventional missiles into the waters off Taiwan as part of the planned exercises in six regions scheduled to continue until noon Sunday. State broadcaster CCTV said it had activated more than 100 aircraft, including fighter jets, bombers and more than 10 warships.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it scrambled planes to warn 22 Chinese fighter planes that crossed the middle line of the Taiwan Strait into its air defense zone, and said troops fired flares late Thursday to drive away four drones that flew over the Kinmen Islands area. off the southeast coast of China.

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She said the missiles launched by China flew high into the atmosphere and posed no threat to it, in response to public concern about whether they had passed over the main island of Taiwan.

Map showing the six locations where China will conduct military exercises.

Japan protested that five missiles appeared to have landed in its economic zone. Read more

A Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman said: “The US-Taiwanese complicity and provocation will only push Taiwan toward the abyss of disaster, and bring disaster to the people of Taiwan.”

In response to the Chinese exercises, President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan will not stir up conflicts but will firmly defend its sovereignty and national security.

“Taiwan will never fall because of challenges,” Tsai said in a video message recorded to the people of Taiwan.

“We are calm and not impulsive, we are rational and not provocative, but we will also be assertive and not evasive.”

The White House condemned the Chinese move as “irresponsible” and said it expected Beijing to continue to respond in the coming days.

“Beijing’s provocative actions are a major escalation and its long-standing attempt to change the status quo,” US national security spokesman John Kirby told a news briefing.

To avoid further escalation of tensions, Kirby said, the United States postponed a long-planned test of an Air Force Minuteman 3 ICBM.

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Taiwan said 11 Chinese Dongfeng ballistic missiles were launched into nearby waters — the first time since 1996. Read more

Taiwan officials said the exercises violate United Nations rules, invade space and threaten freedom of air and sea navigation. It has been autonomous since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s communists took power in Beijing after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang nationalists in a civil war, prompting the KMT-led government to retreat to the island.

The military activity followed Pelosi’s surprise visit to support Taiwan in defiance of warnings from China.

A Taiwanese source familiar with the matter told Reuters that before the exercises officially began, Chinese navy ships and military aircraft briefly crossed the middle line of the Taiwan Strait several times on Thursday. Read more

By midday, warships from both sides remained in close proximity as Taiwan also scrambled with jets and deployed missile systems to track Chinese planes crossing the line.

“They flew and then left again and again. They keep harassing us,” the Taiwanese source said.

China, which has long said it reserves the right to control Taiwan by force, says its differences with the island are an internal affair. Read more

In Taiwan, life has been largely normal despite fears that Beijing might launch a missile at the main island as North Korea did over Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido in 2017.

“When China says it wants to annex Taiwan by force, they already said it long ago,” said Chen Mingcheng, a 38-year-old realtor. “From my personal understanding, they are trying to deflect the public’s anger, and the anger of their own people, and divert it to Taiwan.”

Taiwan said the websites of the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Office were attacked by hackers and warned of an upcoming “psychological war”.

Comrade Pelosi

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan a “crazy, irresponsible and highly irrational act,” state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Wang, who was speaking at a meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers in Cambodia, said China had tried to avoid the crisis by diplomatic means but would not let its core interests be harmed.

Unusually, the exercises in six regions around Taiwan were announced by a GPS map distributed by Xinhua News Agency – a factor that, for some analysts, is clearer than playing in front of domestic and foreign audiences. Read more

In Beijing, security measures near the US embassy were unusually tight although there were no signs of major protests.

“I think this (Pelosi’s visit) is a good thing,” said a man named Zhao in Beijing. “It gives us an opportunity to encircle Taiwan, and then seize this opportunity to seize Taiwan by force. I think we should thank Comrade Pelosi.”

Pelosi, the highest-ranking US visitor to Taiwan in 25 years, praised its democracy and pledged American solidarity during her short stop. She said China’s anger could not stop world leaders from traveling there.

“Our delegation came to Taiwan to make it unequivocally clear that we will not abandon Taiwan,” Pelosi told Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, which Beijing suspects of pushing for formal independence, a red line for China. Read more

China summoned the US ambassador in Beijing in protest and stopped many agricultural imports from Taiwan.

The United States and the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven nations have warned China not to use Pelosi’s visit as a pretext for military action against Taiwan.

The United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is obligated under US law to provide it with the means to defend itself. Taiwan rejects China’s claims to sovereignty, saying only the islanders can decide their future.

A UN spokesman said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is following developments closely and with concern.

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Additional reporting by Yimo Lee and Sarah Wu. Additional reporting by Tony Munro, Ryan Wu and Martin Quinn Pollard in Beijing and Fabian Hamacher in Taipei; Written by Raju Gopalakrishnan, William Maclean, and Deepa Babington; Editing by Simon Cameron Moore, Angus McSwan, Janet Lawrence and Daniel Wallis

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.