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China has launched several waves of missiles over the Taiwan Strait, hitting targets in the waters surrounding the island of Taiwan after a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi triggered a tense military standoff in the East Asian region.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense confirmed that 11 Chinese Dongfeng-type missiles were fired in the direction of Taiwan between 1:56 pm and 4 pm Thursday afternoon local time. The Taiwanese military said it was on high alert, monitoring Chinese military activity in the region, and that the island’s long-range radar detected incoming missiles.
“We condemn this irrational action which has jeopardized regional peace”, the Taiwan Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
Five of the missiles launched landed in the waters around Taiwan that are part of the Exclusive Economic Zone over which Japan claims economic rights abroad, risking to drag Japan, an ally of the United States, into a stalemate.
“This is a serious issue affecting our country’s national security and the safety of the people,” Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said for Kyodo News.
Japan has consistently taken a firmer approach to defense and national security over the past two years, largely due to China’s threats to Taiwan.
“We have to protect Taiwan as a democratic country,” Yasuhide Nakayama, Japan’s Deputy Defense Minister, said at a conference in June 2021.
Pelosi is scheduled for Friday in Japan.
China is conducting live-fire military exercises in six areas surrounding Taiwan. The joint exercises at sea and in the air began on Thursday morning and will continue until at least 7 August.
On Thursday morning, local time, China says it has launched several early warning fighters, bombers, ships and planes into the waters around Taiwan. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it had detected some of those planes, possibly drones, flying over Taiwan’s Kinmen Islands, which are just a few miles off the east coast of China, and fired rockets to chase them away.
Since Tuesday, Chinese fighters have sometimes also made sorties into the Taiwan Strait even venturing on the midline separating the airspace controlled by China from that of Taiwan, according to the Taiwan Defense Forces.
Ng Han Guan / AP
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan criticized the Chinese military exercises in an interview with NPR on Wednesday. “It will create risks and challenges, we think in vain. And so what we hope is that the PRC will act responsibly and avoid the kind of escalation that could lead to a miscalculation or miscalculation in the air or at sea.” he has declared .
China has already launched missiles at Taiwan. During what is called the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis, China repeatedly bombed the waters around Taiwan from 1995 to 1996. That crisis was triggered by the visit of then Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui to the United States to speak at Cornell University, despite China’s objections.