Chinese aircraft and ships conducted mock attack drills against the main island of Taiwan this morning, the Defense Ministry in Taipei said in a statement, in response to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island.
The ministry said several groups of Chinese aircraft were spotted in the Taiwan Strait and some violated the median line, which separates mainland China from Taiwan. Taiwan’s military issued a warning and deployed aerial reconnaissance patrol forces and ships to monitor the situation.
Taiwan’s military also said seven drones were flying over restricted waters around its outer islands late Friday, the third straight day of such incidents.
The military responded by firing flares to drive them away, and will remain on high alert, it said in a statement Saturday, according to Bloomberg. Drones were spotted over Kinmen, Lieyu and the nearby Taiwanese-administered Beiding Island, while unidentified flying objects were seen approaching Matsu’s Liang Island and Dongyin.
China’s military exercises are making ships think twice about heading to one of Taiwan’s most important ports, creating potential delays for shipments of electronic goods. Shipowners, worried about the possibility of missile strikes, choose to idle the ships and burn extra fuel until the drills are over.
The ships are dropping anchor at sea to avoid an exercise zone just outside the port of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, said Jayendu Krishna, deputy head of consultancy Drewry Maritime Advisors. The zone, one of the largest areas where China conducts exercises, is 15 nautical miles from the port entrance.