China’s armed forces on Friday held air and sea combat exercises in the north, southwest and east of Taiwan and continue to “test the troops’ joint combat capabilities.”
The statement came on the official Weibo account of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command.
Taiwan Defense Ministry says China launched 11 missiles into waters near island
China fired 11 missiles into waters off Taiwan’s northeast and southwest on Thursday, according to the island’s Defense Ministry, as Beijing fulfills its promise that Taipei will pay a price for hosting the House Speaker. USA, Nancy Pelosi.
The Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement that several missiles were fired into the sea off eastern Taiwan. He also stated that all projectiles hit the target accurately.
“The entire live fire training mission has been successfully completed and control of the relevant sea and air area has been suspended,” the statement from China reads.
Earlier, the Eastern Theater Command said it had conducted long-range shooting training in the Taiwan Strait, according to Chinese state broadcaster, as part of planned military exercises around the island.
Taiwan reported that Chinese long-range rockets landed near its islands of Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin, which are in the Taiwan Strait but located closer to the mainland than the main island. It later said a total of 11 Dongfeng (DF) missiles were fired into the island’s north, south and east waters between 1:56 pm and 4 pm local time on Thursday.
Chinese state media said drills to simulate an air and sea “blockade” around Taiwan began on Wednesday but offered little solid evidence to support the claim. Later, footage showed military helicopters flying over Pingtan Island, one of Taiwan’s closest points to mainland China.
The military stance was a deliberate show of force after Pelosi left the island on Wednesday night for South Korea, one of the final stops on an Asia tour that ends in Japan this weekend.
Just hours after its departure from Taipei on Wednesday, the island’s Defense Ministry said China had sent more than 20 fighter jets across the midline of the Taiwan Strait, the midway point between the mainland and Taiwan that Beijing says it does not recognize. but generally respects.
On Thursday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said its military was maintaining a “normal” but cautious stance, and called the shooting exercises an “irrational act” that sought to “change the status quo”.
“We are closely monitoring enemy activities around the Taiwan Sea and outlying islands and will act accordingly,” the ministry said in a statement.
Taiwan also accused China of “following North Korea’s example of arbitrary missile tests in waters close to other countries” in a statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
The exercises caused disruptions to flight and ship schedules, with some international flights canceled and ships urged to use alternative routes to various ports on the island.
Well before Pelosi’s nearly 24-hour visit to Taiwan, China warned that her presence was not welcome. The Chinese Communist Party claims the self-governing island as its own territory, despite never having controlled it.
China released a map showing six zones around Taiwan that would be the locations of exercises in the coming days. Taiwan’s Maritime and Ports Department said on Thursday that China had added a seventh military exercise zone, but later withdrew the statement, saying the earlier warning was wrong.
Chinese state media outlined a wide range of objectives for the exercises, including attacks on land and sea targets.
“The exercises [são] focused on key training sessions, including joint blockade, attack on sea targets, attack on land targets, and airspace control operation, and the troops’ joint combat capabilities were tested in military operations,” the news agency said in a statement. Xinhua assigned to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command, which is responsible for areas near Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the Global Times tabloid said the exercises involved some of China’s newest and most sophisticated weaponry, including J-20 stealth fighter jets and DF-17 hypersonic missiles, and that some missiles could be fired over the island – a move that would be extremely provocative.
“The exercises are unprecedented as conventional PLA missiles are due to fly over the island of Taiwan for the first time,” the Global Times said, citing experts.
“PLA forces will enter areas within 12 nautical miles of the island and the so-called median line will cease to exist.”
Taiwanese reports of the Chinese military move included the fighter jets crossing the median line and a report by the Taiwan government-run Central News Agency, citing government sources, that two of China’s most powerful warships – Type 55 destroyers – were sighted on Tuesday off the central and southeastern coast of the island, the closest being 37 miles (about 60 km) from land.
But there was little corroboration or firm evidence provided by China to back up the kind of claims published in the Global Times.
China’s state television offered videos of fighter jets taking off, ships at sea and missiles in motion, but the dates of when this video was filmed could not be verified.
Some analysts were skeptical that Beijing could carry out what it was threatening, such as a blockade of Taiwan.
“The official announcement [do bloqueio] it refers to just a few days, which would make it difficult to practically qualify it for a blockade,” said Alessio Patalano, professor of war and strategy at King’s College, London.
“Locks are difficult to execute and time-consuming to implement. This exercise is not that,” he said.
Patalano said the biggest impact of the exercises would be psychological.
“During the time period in question, ships and aircraft will likely be redirected to avoid the area, but this is a primary objective of the chosen locations: to create disruption, discomfort and fear of the worst to come,” he said.
Forwarding of planes and ships
China’s retaliatory exercises have already caused disruptions to flight and ship schedules in Taiwan, although the island is trying to lessen their impact.
Taiwan’s Transport Minister said agreements had been reached with Japan and the Philippines to reroute 18 international flight routes departing the island – affecting about 300 flights in total – to avoid the PLA’s live fire exercises.
Korean Air told CNN on Thursday that it canceled flights from Incheon to Taiwan scheduled for Friday and Saturday due to security reasons as China carries out its military exercises. Flights will resume on Sunday.
On Wednesday, Taiwan’s Maritime and Ports Department issued three warnings, urging ships to use alternate routes to seven ports around the island.
The live fire exercises planned by China were also causing discomfort in Japan.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the exercises pose a threat to his country’s security.
One of the six exercise areas created by China was near Japan’s Yonaguni Island, part of Okinawa prefecture and just 110 km off the coast of Taiwan.
This same Chinese exercise zone is also close to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited rock ridge known as Diaoyus in China, over which Beijing claims sovereignty.
“In particular, a training area has been set up in the waters near Japan, and if China conducts live ammunition exercises in such an area, it could affect the security of Japan and its people,” Matsuno said.
Meanwhile, the US military was silent about the Chinese exercises and did not provide answers to questions from the CNN .
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he hoped “Beijing will not manufacture a crisis or seek a pretext to increase its aggressive military action.”
Speaking at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Ministerial Meeting in Cambodia, Blinken said the US remains committed to its “one China” policy.
In addition to closely monitoring Chinese military movements on the island, Taiwan also said it would strengthen security against cyber attacks and disinformation campaigns.
Taiwan Cabinet Spokesperson Lo Ping-cheng told a news conference on Wednesday that the government has increased security at key infrastructure points and raised the cybersecurity alert level at government offices.
Taiwan is anticipating the rise of “cognitive warfare,” referring to disinformation campaigns used to sway public opinion, Lo said.
This report has been updated with new information.
Wayne Chang and Eric Cheung of CNN, contributed to this matter.
Source: CNN Brasil