keylang, Taiwan ( Associated Press) – China on Thursday carried out “precision missile strikes” in the waters off the Taiwan Strait and Taiwan’s east coast, as part of military exercises that have raised tensions in the region to their highest level in decades. Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
Hours earlier, Beijing had announced military exercises involving the Navy and Air Force, among other departments, in six areas around Taiwan, which the Chinese government claims as its territory that it will occupy by force if necessary. Will do it
Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said five Chinese-launched missiles fell inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone off Hateruma, an island south of Japan’s main archipelago. He said Japan opposed China’s launch of the missiles, calling them a “serious threat to Japan’s national security and the safety of the Japanese people”.
According to a statement posted on Twitter by its embassy in Washington, Japan’s defense ministry also estimated that four missiles passed through the mainland over the capital city of Taipei. Taiwan’s defense ministry did not deny the claims, saying the trajectory was “out of the atmosphere and not harmful to a large area over the land it flew over.”
The maneuvers were in response to Pelosi’s visit to the island this week, and are aimed at raising awareness of the Chinese threat to attack the autonomous island republic. In addition to its moves to isolate Taiwan diplomatically, China has long threatened military retaliation given that the island has taken steps to bolster its de facto independence with the support of key allies such as Washington.
China fired long-range explosive projectiles, the Eastern Command of the People’s Liberation Army, the Communist Party’s military wing, said. It also said that it carried out multiple launches of conventional missiles in three different areas in Taiwan’s eastern waters. A graphic linked to the broadcasts by state broadcaster CCTV shows they took place in the north, east and south.
“All the missiles hit the target accurately,” the command said, without giving further details.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby condemned the launch and military activity around Taiwan.
“China has chosen to overreact and use the House speaker’s visit as an excuse to increase its provocative military activity around the Taiwan Straits,” Kirby said on Thursday. “We will not stop operating in the seas and skies of the Western Pacific in accordance with international law, as we have done in our decades of support for Taiwan and the defense of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
For its part, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it had tracked the launch of Chinese Dongfeng-series missiles from 1:56 p.m. Thursday. In a statement, Taiwanese officials said they used various early warning monitoring systems to monitor the projectiles. He later said he counted 11 Dongfeng missiles in the waters in the north, east and south of the island.
The ministry said it tracked the firing of long-range rockets and ammunition on the outlying islands in Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen criticized the move during a video address, saying China had “destroyed the status quo and violated our sovereignty” with its “irresponsible acts”. He called on China to be “sensible and measured”.
“We are calm and not impulsive, we are sensible and not provocateurs,” he said. “But we will also stand firm and will not back down.”
Tsai said Taiwan is in contact with its allies to ensure that the situation does not escalate.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said its forces were on alert and monitoring the situation while trying to contain the escalation of tensions. In addition, civil defense exercises have been conducted for months and notices have been served in assigned anti-aircraft shelters.
The ministry said China’s “irrational behavior” seeks to disturb the status quo and disturb regional peace and stability.
“The three service branches will combine their efforts with the entire population to jointly safeguard national security and territorial integrity,” the statement said.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said the exercises were joint operations focused on “blockades, attacks on sea targets, attacks on land targets and airspace control”.
Professor Ma Chen-kun of Taiwan’s National Defense University said the aim of the exercise was to show China’s military capability to cut Taiwan’s ties with the outside world and deploy precision weapons to facilitate the arrival of troops.
Associated Press writer David Rising in Phnom Penh, Cambodia contributed to this report