Mon. Dec 5th, 2022
TAIPEI: Chinese planes and warships practiced Saturday for an attack on Taiwan, officials on the island said, in retaliation for a visit there by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that also saw Beijing halt dialogue with the United States in several areas.
Pelosi’s brief unannounced visit earlier in the week to the self-governing island claimed by China angered Beijing and sparked unprecedented military drills that included ballistic missiles fired at the capital Taipei.
The Chinese exercises are scheduled to last until noon on Sunday.
On Saturday morning, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said a number of Chinese ships and planes had conducted missions in the Taiwan Strait, with some crossing the median line, an unofficial buffer separating the two sides, moves that the Taiwan military he believes they were part of a mock attack on main Taiwan. island.
Taiwan’s military issued a warning and deployed aerial reconnaissance patrol forces and ships to monitor while putting land-based missiles on standby.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry also said it fired flares Friday night to warn seven drones flying over the Kinmen Islands and unidentified aircraft flying over the Matsu Islands. Both groups of islands are located near the southeastern coast of mainland China.
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late on Tuesday, the highest-level visit to the island by a US official in decades, despite Chinese warnings, and has promoted a series of retaliation, including sanctions against Pelosi herself.
Shortly after its delegation left Japan on Friday, the last leg of a week-long tour of Asia, China announced it would suspend dialogue with the United States in several areas, including among military commanders at the theater level and on change. climate.
China’s Foreign Ministry said it would also suspend exchanges on fighting cross-border crime and drug trafficking. The United States called the response “irresponsible.”
On Friday, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said it had conducted air and sea exercises in northern, southwestern and eastern Taiwan to test the “joint combat capabilities” of its forces.
united states secretary of state antonio to blink he said Washington had repeatedly made it clear to Beijing that it was not seeking a crisis over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
“There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalated military response,” he told a news conference on the sidelines of regional meetings in Cambodia.
“Now, they have taken dangerous acts to a new level.”
Blinken stressed that the United States would not take action to provoke a crisis, but would instead support allies and conduct standard air and sea transit through the Taiwan Strait.
“We will fly, sail and operate where international law allows,” he said.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Chinese officials had not responded to calls made by senior Pentagon officials this week, but that was seen as a show of discontent with Pelosi’s trip rather than the breakdown of the channel between top defense officials, including the Americans. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a press conference on Friday: “I heard that US Secretary of State Blinken held his press conference and spread wrong information and did not tell the truth.” .
“We want to issue a warning to the United States: don’t act rashly, don’t create a bigger crisis,” Wang said.
Jing Quan, a senior official at the Chinese embassy in Washington, echoed that in a briefing: “The only way out of this crisis is for the US side to immediately take action to rectify its mistakes and eliminate the serious impact of Pelosi’s visit”.
‘Fundamentally irresponsible’
White House national security spokesman John Kirby responded that China’s suspension of some communication channels was “fundamentally irresponsible.”
“The United States has nothing to rectify here. The Chinese can go a long way toward reducing tensions simply by stopping these provocative military exercises and ending the rhetoric,” Kirby told reporters.
China has not mentioned a suspension of military talks at the highest levels, such as with Austin and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. While those conversations have been rare, officials have said it’s important to have them in case of an emergency.
Kirby said it was not unusual for China to shut down military talks at times of tension, but “not all channels” between military leaders had been severed.
Breaking communication links risks an accidental escalation of tension, according to security analysts, diplomats and US officials.
“Part of this overreaction has been to strictly limit their defense commitments when any responsible state would recognize that we need them most now,” the acting Pentagon spokesman said. Todd Breaseale.
Speaking in Japan after meeting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Pelosi said her Asia trip was “not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region.”
The Japanese Ministry of Defense reported that up to four missiles flew over the Taiwanese capital, which is unprecedented. It also said that five of the nine missiles fired at its territory landed in its exclusive economic zone, also for the first time, prompting a diplomatic outcry.
Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s communists seized power in Beijing after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang nationalists in a civil war, prompting their retreat to the island.
Beijing says its relations with Taiwan are an internal matter and it reserves the right to bring the island under Chinese control, by force if necessary. Taiwan rejects China’s claims saying that only the people of Taiwan can decide its future.