As tension in the strait escalates, China sends ships and jets near Taiwan

The ministry said Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) forces had crossed the line of demarcation — the halfway point between the island and mainland China — in what it called a “highly provocative act.”

An informal, but largely respected border of control between Beijing and Taipei.

Taiwan’s military responded with a radio alert and put air patrols, naval vessels and land-based missile systems on alert, the ministry added.

On Friday, Taiwan’s Premier Su Cheng-chang said the island represented “freedom and democracy” and that “an evil neighbor next door has flexed its muscles on our doorstep and wreaked havoc in the world’s busiest waterways with military exercises.”

The skies and waters around Taiwan have become a focal point as Beijing escalates tensions not only with Taiwan, but also with neighboring Japan, which formally protested to China after five missiles landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

One of several missiles launched by Beijing on Thursday — some of which flew over Taiwan — Pelosi visited Tokyo on Friday to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

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

But the missiles flying over the island marked a significant escalation, and U.S. officials warned that more could be coming.

“We anticipated that China might take steps like this — in fact, I described them to you in some detail the other day,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, told reporters at the White House on Thursday. . “We expect these measures to continue and the Chinese to continue to react in the coming days.”

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

On Friday, Kishida called the Chinese military drills “a serious issue concerning the security of our country and its people” and called for an immediate halt to the drills. He added that Japan and the United States will work together to maintain stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Speaking in Tokyo on Friday, Pelosi blamed China Trying to “isolate Taiwan” refers to excluding the island 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,” he said.

He said his visit to Taiwan was to maintain the status quo, not change it.

Missiles ‘no danger’

China began military exercises around the island on Thursday and fired several missiles at waters near northeastern and southwestern Taiwan the day after Pelosi left.

A Chinese military expert confirmed on state-broadcast CCTV that conventional missiles flew over Taiwan’s main island, including airspace covered by Taiwan’s missile defense system.

“We hit targets under the observation of the US Aegis combat system, which means the Chinese military has solved the difficulties of hitting long-range targets,” said Major General Meng Xiangqing, a professor of strategy at the National Defense University. in Beijing.

In a statement late Thursday, Taiwan’s defense ministry said the missiles had traveled above the atmosphere and posed no danger to the island.

Officials did not trigger air strike warnings because they predicted the missiles would land in waters east of Taiwan, the ministry said. The ministry 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 exercise as PLA surrounds island

Five ballistic missiles are believed to have landed inside Japan’s EEZ, including four believed to have flown over Taiwan, Japan’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

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“This is a serious problem concerning Japan’s security and the safety of its citizens. We strongly condemn this,” Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters during a press conference.

China on Thursday sent 22 warplanes into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) — all of which crossed the median line.

It follows similar Chinese incursions across the Line of Control a day earlier.

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

Late Thursday, the ministry said it detected four drones flying in “restricted waters” around the Taiwan-controlled Kinmen Islands near mainland China. The ministry said Taiwan’s military fired flares to warn off the drones, but did not specify the type or origin of the devices.

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) conducts missile tests on Taiwan's east coast from an undisclosed location on August 4, 2022.

On Friday, a spokesman for Taiwan’s foreign ministry said both the government’s English website and the ministry’s website had detected the highest number of attacks on Tuesday – the day Pelosi landed in Taiwan. The IP addresses behind the attacks came from China and Russia, among other places, with the aim of disabling government sites, the spokesperson said.

Websites returned to normal after emergency repair work, but “massive attacks with malicious intent . . . by hostile foreign forces” continued on Thursday and Friday.

Disruptions in business

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

“I must emphasize that we are not trying to escalate conflicts or provoke disputes, but we will firmly defend our sovereignty and national security, as well as defend democracy and freedom,” he added.

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He also thanked the Group of Seven, which includes the world’s biggest economies, for issuing a statement on Wednesday expressing concern over China’s live-fire drills and urging Beijing not to change the status quo in the region.

The exercises have disrupted flight and ship schedules, with some international flights canceled and ships urged to use alternate routes to several ports around the island.

On Tuesday, China’s defense ministry said it would conduct its drills in six zones around Taiwan, warning ships and aircraft to stay out of the areas during the exercise.

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

CNN’s Gawon Bae and 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.

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