August 9, 2022

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China fires missiles over Taiwan for the first time as Beijing responds to Pelosi's visit

China fires missiles over Taiwan for the first time as Beijing responds to Pelosi’s visit

Pelosi met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday morning, with their attention focused on the Taiwan Strait, where China is conducting air and sea exercises to protest the US spokesman’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week.

China has previously launched missiles into the waters around Taiwan – a democratic island of 24 million people that the Chinese Communist Party considers its territory, although it has never controlled – most notably during the Taiwan Strait crisis in the 1990s.

But the missiles are flying over the island marked A significant escalation, with US officials warning there could be more to come.

“We expected China to take steps like these — in fact, I described them to you in some detail just that day,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, told reporters at the White House on Thursday. . We also expect these measures to continue and for the Chinese to continue responding in the coming days. ”

Kirby added that a US aircraft carrier would remain in the area around Taiwan for several more days “to monitor the situation.”

Speaking in Tokyo on Friday, Pelosi accused China of trying to “isolate Taiwan,” noting the island’s exclusion from international groups such as the World Health Organization.

“They may try to prevent Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us from traveling there,” she said.

She added that her visit to Taiwan was aimed at maintaining the status quo, not changing it.

Kishida said on Friday that China’s military exercises are a “serious issue concerning the security of our country and its people” and called for an immediate halt to the exercises. He added that Japan and the United States “will work together to maintain stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

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Missiles pose no danger

China began military exercises around the island on Thursday, and fired several missiles toward waters near northeastern and southwestern Taiwan the day after Pelosi’s departure.

A Chinese military expert confirmed to state-run CCTV station that conventional missiles flew over the main island of Taiwan, including the airspace covered by Taiwan’s defense missiles.

“We hit the targets under the watch of the American Aegis combat system, which means that the Chinese army has solved the difficulties of hitting long-range targets in the water,” said Major-General Ming Xiangqing, professor of strategy at the National Defense University. in Beijing.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement late Thursday that the missiles hovered above the atmosphere and therefore posed no danger to the island.

The ministry said the authorities had not issued warnings about the air strikes because they had expected the missiles to fall into waters east of Taiwan. The department added that it would not release more information about the missile’s trajectory to protect its intelligence-gathering capabilities.

China fires missiles near Taiwan in live-fire exercises as People's Liberation Army besieges island

Japan’s Defense Ministry said Thursday that five ballistic missiles are believed to have fallen within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, including the four that are believed to have flown over Taiwan.

“This is a serious problem related to the security of Japan and the safety of its citizens. We strongly condemn it,” Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kiichi told reporters at a news conference.

China also sent 22 warplanes to the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Thursday — all of which crossed the mid-line that marks the midpoint between the island and mainland China over the Taiwan Strait.

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It comes on the heels of similar Chinese incursions the previous day across the once-unofficial but highly respected mid-line border between Beijing and Taipei.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that Thursday’s incursions were carried out by 12 Su-30 fighter jets, eight J-11 fighter jets and two J-16 fighter jets.

Later Thursday, the ministry said it had spotted four drones flying over the “restricted waters” around the Taiwan-controlled Kinmen Islands near mainland China. The ministry said the Taiwanese military had fired flares to warn the drones to stay away, but it did not specify the type or source of the devices.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) conducts missile tests in the waters off the east coast of Taiwan, from an undisclosed location on August 4, 2022.

Trade disruptions

In a speech on Thursday, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen condemned China’s military exercises as “irresponsible,” saying they represented a “deliberate and continued escalation of military threats.”

“I must stress that we do not seek to escalate differences or stir disagreements, but we will vigorously defend our sovereignty and national integrity, as well as protect democracy and freedom,” she added.

It also thanked the Group of Seven, which includes the world’s largest economies, which issued a statement on Wednesday expressing concern about live-fire exercises in China and urging Beijing not to change the status quo in the region.

The exercises also disrupted flight schedules and ships, with some international flights canceled and ships urged to use alternative routes to many ports around the island.

The Chinese Ministry of Defense said, on Tuesday, that it will conduct its exercises in six regions around Taiwan, warning ships and aircraft to stay outside the regions during the exercises.

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The Taiwan Strait is a major trade route for ships transporting goods between major economies in Northeast Asia such as China, Japan, South Korea, and the rest of the world.

Gawon Bae and CNN’s Yong Xiong in Seoul, Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo, Laura He in Hong Kong, Eric Cheung in Taipei and Sam Fossum in Washington contributed to this report.