China continues military exercises around Taiwan on final day
China Taiwan news: China on Sunday continued its controversial military exercises around Taiwan, in what is due to be the last day of the manoeuvres that have considerably increased tensions in the region following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei.
Twenty Chinese military aircraft and 14 warships had taken part in Saturday's exercises, the Taiwan military reported.
Chinese drones were again observed over the Taiwan-administered island of Kinmen, which lies just 10 km from the port city of Xiamen on the Chinese mainland, reports said.
Taiwan’s armed forces issued an alert, dispatched air and naval patrols around the island and activated land-based missile systems in response to the Chinese exercises, the Ministry of National Defense said.
The ministry said that zones declared by China as no-go areas during the exercises for other ships and aircraft had “seriously damaged the peace.”
It emphasized that Taiwan’s military does not seek war, but would prepare and respond to it accordingly.
China’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement Saturday that it had carried out military exercises as planned in the sea and airspaces to the north, southwest, and east of Taiwan, with a focus on “testing the capabilities” of its land strike and sea assault systems.
Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan
China launched live-fire military drills following Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan earlier this week, saying it violated the “one-China” policy. China sees the island as a breakaway province to be annexed by force if necessary and considers visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as recognizing its sovereignty.
Taiwan’s army also said it detected four unmanned aerial vehicles flying in the vicinity of the offshore county of Kinmen on Friday night and fired warning flares in response.
The four drones, which Taiwan believed were Chinese, were spotted over waters around the Kinmen island group and the nearby Lieyu Island and Beiding islet, according to Taiwan’s Kinmen Defense Command.
Kinmen, also known as Quemoy, is a group of islands only 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) east of the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province in the Taiwan Strait, which divides the two sides that split amid civil war in 1949.
“Our government & military are closely monitoring China’s military exercises & information warfare operations, ready to respond as necessary,” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet.
“I call on the international community to support democratic Taiwan & halt any escalation of the regional security situation,” she added.
The Chinese military exercises began Thursday and are expected to last until Sunday. So far, the drills have included missile strikes on targets in the seas north and south of the island in an echo of the last major Chinese military drills in 1995 and 1996 aimed at intimidating Taiwan’s leaders and voters.
Taiwan has put its military on alert and staged civil defense drills, while the U.S. has deployed numerous naval assets in the area.
The Biden administration and Pelosi have said the U.S. remains committed to a “one-China” policy, which recognizes Beijing as the government of China but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei. The administration discouraged but did not prevent Pelosi from visiting.
China has also cut off defense and climate talks with the U.S. and imposed sanctions on Pelosi in retaliation for the visit.
Pelosi said Friday in Tokyo, the last stop of her Asia tour, that China will not be able to isolate Taiwan by preventing U.S. officials from traveling there.
(With inputs from agencies)
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