Thursday Dec 8, 2022
Thursday Dec 8, 2022

Taiwan condemns China over war drills

2022 Aug 05, 15:44,
Representative Image

Taiwan blasted its "evil neighbor" on Friday after China encircled the island with a series of huge military drills that were condemned by the United States and other Western allies.

 During military exercises on Thursday and Friday, China fired ballistic missiles and deployed fighter jets and warships around Taiwan.

 The People's Liberation Army declared multiple no-go danger zones around Taiwan, straddling major shipping lanes in the world and at some points coming within 20 kilometres (12 miles) of the island's shores.

 Beijing has said the exercises will continue until midday Sunday, and Taipei reported that Chinese fighter jets and ships crossed the "median line" that runs down the Taiwan Strait on Friday morning.

"As of 11 am, multiple batches of Chinese warplanes and warships conducted exercises around the Taiwan Strait and crossed the median line of the strait," Taipei's defence ministry said in a statement.

 The median line is an unofficial but once largely adhered-to border that runs down the middle of the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and China.

Chinese incursions have become more common since Beijing declared in 2020 that the unofficial border no longer existed.

 AFP journalists on the Chinese island of Pingtan saw a fighter jet flying overhead, prompting tourists to snap photos as it flew along the coast.

A Chinese military vessel was also visible sailing through the Taiwan Strait, they added.

Beijing has insisted its war games are a "necessary" response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, but Washington countered that China's leaders had "chosen to overreact".

 Taiwan's premier Su Tseng-chang, meanwhile, called for allies to push for de-escalation.

"(We) didn't expect that the evil neighbour next door would show off its power at our door and arbitrarily jeopardise the busiest waterways in the world with its military exercises," he told reporters.

 Pelosi has defended her trip to the self-ruled, democratic island, saying Friday that Washington would "not allow" China to isolate Taiwan.

"We have said from the start that our representation here is not about changing the status quo here in Asia, changing the status quo in Taiwan," she told reporters in Tokyo on the final leg of an Asia tour.

 Later on Friday China hit back, announcing sanctions against Pelosi and her immediate family, without providing details on the punitive measures.

Beijing has in recent years sanctioned a number of US officials for what it views as acting against its core interests, and speaking out on human rights issues in Hong Kong and the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

- Missiles over Taiwan -

 China's drills involved a "conventional missile firepower assault" in waters to the east of Taiwan, the Chinese military said.

The state-run Xinhua news agency said the Chinese military "flew more than 100 warplanes including fighters and bombers" during the exercises, as well as "over 10 destroyers and frigates".

 State broadcaster CCTV reported that Chinese missiles had flown directly over Taiwan.

Japan also claimed that of the nine missiles it had detected, four were "believed to have flown over Taiwan's main island".

Taipei's military said it would not confirm missile flight paths, in a bid to protect its intelligence capabilities and not allow China "to intimidate us".


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