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China's military drills appear to simulate attack: Taiwan

A People's Liberation Army member looks through binoculars during military exercises in Taiwan strait, China is holding drills in waters around Taiwan in response to a recent visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP)Premium
A People's Liberation Army member looks through binoculars during military exercises in Taiwan strait, China is holding drills in waters around Taiwan in response to a recent visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP)

Taiwan officials have said that China has exercised attack simulation in retaliation to Nancy Pelosi's visit. Chinese aircraft and warships rehearsed an attack on Taiwan on Saturday

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TAIPEI : Taiwan officials have stated that Chinese aircraft and warships rehearsed an attack on Taiwan on Saturday. They said, the reason for this action was a retaliation against a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan. Beijing has halted talks on security and other issues with the United States.

These unprecedented military drills that have included ballistic missiles fired over the capital, Taipei were prompted by Pelosi's brief unannounced visit during the week to the self-ruled island claimed by China.

The Chinese exercises - centred on six locations around the island - are scheduled to last until midday on Sunday.

Taiwan's defence ministry described the military drills over the island saying, multiple Chinese ships and planes conducted missions in the Taiwan Strait, with some crossing the median line, an unofficial buffer separating the two sides.

Chinese warships and aircraft continued to "press" into the median line of the Taiwan Strait on Saturday afternoon, a person familiar with security planning said.

He added that, off Taiwan's east coast and close to Japanese islands, Chinese warships and drones simulated attacks on U.S. and Japanese warships.

Taiwan's army broadcast a warning and deployed air reconnaissance patrol forces and ships to monitor while putting shore-based missiles on stand-by.

Taiwan's defence ministry also said it fired flares late on Friday to warn away seven drones flying over its Kinmen islands and unidentified aircraft flying over its Matsu islands. Both island groups are close to mainland China's coast.

On Friday, China's military said it conducted air and sea drills to the north, southwest and east of Taiwan to test its forces' "joint combat capabilities".

Consequences of Pelosi's visit

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi being welcomed upon her arrival at Sungshan Airport in Taipei.
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Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi being welcomed upon her arrival at Sungshan Airport in Taipei. (AFP)

Pelosi's visit to Taiwan late on Tuesday, was the highest-level visit to the island by a U.S. official in decades, despite Chinese warnings. Her trip has promoted a flurry of retaliation, including sanctions against Pelosi and her family by China.

China announced that it was halting dialogue with the United States, including contacts between theatre-level military commanders and on climate change. This came shortly after Pelosi's delegation left for Japan on Friday, the final stop of a week-long Asia tour.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reacted on China's retaliation. Speaking on a visit to the Philippines, he said, the cessation of dialogue on issues including narcotics and transnational crime, was "irresponsible", and security contacts were vital to ease tension.

"Suspending climate cooperation doesn't punish the United States, it punishes the world, particularly the developing world," he told a news conference. "We should not hold hostage cooperation on matters of global concern."

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told a media briefing on Friday that Blinken was spreading "misinformation".

Wang went on to say, "We wish to issue a warning to the United States: Do not act rashly, do not create a greater crisis."

Jing Quan, a senior Chinese Embassy official in Washington, echoed in a briefing, "The only way out of this crisis is that the U.S. side must take measures immediately to rectify its mistakes and eliminate the grave impact of Pelosi's visit."

China is being 'fundamentally irresponsible': US

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby countered that China's suspension of some communication channels was "fundamentally irresponsible".

Kirby told reporters that, "There's nothing here for the United States to rectify. The Chinese can go a long way to taking the tensions down simply by stopping these provocative military exercises and ending the rhetoric."

Even though China has registered its retaliation by suspending talks on some issues including contacts between theatre-level military commanders, China has not mentioned a suspension of military talks at the senior-most levels, such as with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley. While those talks have been infrequent, officials have said they are important in the case of an emergency.

Kirby said it was not atypical for China to shut down military talks at times of tension but "not all channels" between military leaders had been cut.

Acting Pentagon spokesman Todd Breasseale said, "Part of this overreaction has been strictly limiting its defence engagements when any responsible state would recognise that we need them now the most."

Speaking in Japan after meeting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Pelosi tried to extinguish the tensions saying that her Asia trip was "not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region".

Japan's defence ministry reported that as many as four missiles flew over Taiwan's capital, which is unprecedented. It also said that five of nine missiles fired toward its territory landed in its exclusive economic zone.

Kishida told visiting U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he strongly condemned China's missile launches as "a serious issue concerning Japan's security and the safety of Japanese people", the foreign ministry said.

Taiwan has been self-ruled since 1949, when Mao Zedong's communists took power in Beijing after defeating Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang nationalists in a civil war, prompting their retreat to the island.

Taiwan rejects China's claims saying only Taiwan's people can decide their future. On the other hand, Beijing says its relations with Taiwan are an internal matter and that it reserves the right to bring the island under its control, by force if necessary.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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