Taiwan has accused China of simulating an attack on the main island of Taiwan during its military maneuvers.
Taiwan’s armed forces have spotted numerous Chinese planes and ships in the Taiwan Strait region, some of which have crossed the unofficial China-Taiwan maritime border, the Defense Ministry said in Taipei on Saturday.
The maneuvers were classified as a “simulation of an attack on Taiwan’s main island”. Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu condemned “this dangerous military escalation of the military threat that is destroying peace and stability in the region.”
China had started the maneuvers announced by Sunday in response to the visit of the Speaker of the American House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan. It was the highest-ranking visit from the United States in a quarter century.
China is angry because it claims Taiwan as its own. It sees the island as part of the People’s Republic and vehemently rejects official contacts with other countries. However, the island has long seen itself as independent.
On the previous day alone, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army had sent a “record number” of 68 military machines and 13 naval ships into waters near the democratic island republic, as reported by the Foreign Ministry in Taipei. Many of them also crossed the unofficial but so far most respected centerline of the Taiwan Strait Straits separating the mainland and Taiwan.
During the maneuvers, China also launched eleven ballistic missiles in the direction of Taiwan, one of which is reported to have flown directly over Taiwan and not far from the capital Taipei for the first time. Five landed east of Taiwan in the nearby Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Japan, which was also taken as a warning to Tokyo to stay out of the conflict.
Taiwan has fired warning flares at Chinese drones flying over Taiwan’s Kinmen Islands, two kilometers off the coast of China. Additional flares were used to warn unidentified aircraft over the Matsu Islands. This was announced by the Ministry of Defense in Taiwan on Saturday.
Both Taiwanese archipelagos lie just off the coast of mainland China. The ministry said its troops were on high alert in both areas.
The military exercises aim at a sea and air blockade and serve to prepare for a possible invasion. As a further reaction, China suspended the dialogue with the United States on climate protection. White House spokesman for the National Security Council John Kirby has criticized these decisions as “deeply irresponsible”. It continued, “They think they are punishing us by shutting down this channel. In reality, they are punishing the whole world because the climate crisis knows no geographical borders.”
Cooperation such as in the fight against crime, drugs and the repatriation of people who have entered the country illegally have been completely eliminated. Additionally, Beijing imposed unspecified sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family members. China’s leadership accuses it of “seriously interfering in internal affairs”.
The US government called on China to stop the maneuvers on Friday. “The Chinese can do a lot to ease tensions simply by ending their provocative military drills and softening their tone,” Kirby said. The USA wanted to maintain its military contacts with the People’s Republic “at the highest level”.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met the new head of state of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in Manila on Saturday. Blinken paid tribute to the alliance between the two states: “The alliance is strong, and I think it can get even stronger.” Marcos spoke of a “special relationship” between the two countries.