BEIJING– China said on Friday that more than 100 warplanes and 10 warships have taken part in live-fire military exercises surrounding Taiwan in the past two days, while announcing sanctions to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her visit. to the self-governing island earlier this week.
The official Xinhua news agency said Friday that fighters, bombers, destroyers and frigates were all used in what have been called “joint blocking operations” that took place in six areas off the coast of Taiwan, which the China claims it as its own territory.
The Army’s Eastern Theater Command also launched new versions of missiles that hit unidentified targets in the Taiwan Strait “with precision”.
Among them, bullets fired at Taiwan in the Pacific, military officials told state media, in a major increase in China’s threats to annex the island by force.
The drills, which Xinhua described as being held on “unprecedented scale”, are China’s response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week. It is the highest-ranking US politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years.
China has announced unspecified sanctions on Pelosi and his family. Such penalties are generally mostly symbolic in nature.
A statement from the Chinese foreign ministry said Pelosi had ignored China’s serious concerns and resolute opposition to his visit. He called Pelosi’s visit provocative and said it undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
China is opposed to Taiwan having its own commitments with foreign governments.
On the Chinese coast opposite Taiwan, tourists gathered on Friday to try to catch a glimpse of any military aircraft bound for the exercise area.
Fighter planes could be heard flying overhead and tourists taking photos chanted, “Let’s bring Taiwan back,” looking at the blue waters of the Taiwan Strait from Pingtan Island, a popular scenic spot.
China’s insistence that Taiwan is its territory and the threat of using force to bring it under its control has been heavily present in the ruling Communist Party’s propaganda, education system, and wholly state-controlled media for longer. seven decades since the sides split during the civil war in 1949.
Icelandic residents are overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining the status quo of de facto independence and rejecting China’s demands that Taiwan join the mainland under Communist control.
On Friday morning, China sent military ships and warplanes across the Taiwan Strait midline, the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense said, crossing what had been an unofficial buffer zone between China and Taiwan for decades.
Five of the missiles launched by China since the start of military exercises on Thursday landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone off Hateruma, an island in the far south of Japan’s main islands, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said. He said Japan protested the missile landings in China as “serious threats to Japan’s national security and the security of the Japanese people.”
The Japanese Defense Ministry later said it believed the other four missiles launched from China’s southeast coast of Fujian flew over Taiwan.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday that Chinese military exercises targeting Taiwan were a “serious problem” that threatened regional peace and security.
In Tokyo, where Pelosi is concluding his trip to Asia, he said China cannot prevent US officials from visiting Taiwan. Speaking after breakfast with Pelosi and his delegation to Congress, Kishida said the missile launches must be “stopped immediately”.
China said it has summoned European diplomats to the country to protest statements made by the Group of Seven Nations and the European Union criticizing the threatening Chinese military exercises surrounding Taiwan.
The foreign ministry on Friday said Deputy Minister Deng Li made “solemn declarations” on what it called “rampant interference in China’s internal affairs”.
Deng said China “will prevent the country from dividing with the strongest determination, using all means and at any cost.”
“Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is blatant political manipulation and a blatant and gross violation of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Deng. “In response to US-Taiwan collusion and provocation, China’s counterattack is quite natural.”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the meeting was held on Thursday evening, but did not provide information on which countries attended. On Thursday, China canceled a foreign ministers meeting with Japan to protest the G-7’s statement that there was no justification for the exercises.
Both ministers were attending a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia.
China previously summoned US Ambassador Nicholas Burns to protest Pelosi’s visit. The speaker left Taiwan on Wednesday after meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen and holding other public events. He traveled to South Korea and then to Japan. Both countries host US military bases and could be involved in a conflict involving Taiwan.
The Chinese exercises involve troops from the Navy, Air Force, Missile Force, Strategic Support Force, and Logistics Support Force, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
They are believed to be the largest estates near Taiwan in geographic terms, with Beijing announcing six exercise zones surrounding the island.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed the exercises on Thursday saying: “I sincerely hope that Beijing does not create a crisis or seek a pretext to increase its aggressive military activity. We countries around the world believe that escalation is of no use to anyone and could have unintended consequences that serve no one’s interests. “
US law requires the government to treat threats to Taiwan, including blockades, as matters of “grave concern”.
The drills will run from Thursday to Sunday and will include missile strikes on targets in the seas north and south of the island in an echo of the latest large Chinese military exercises aimed at intimidating Taiwanese leaders and voters held in 1995 and 1996.
Taiwan alerted its military and organized civil protection exercises, but the general mood remained calm on Friday. Flights were canceled or diverted and fishermen remained in port to avoid Chinese drills.
On Thursday, in the north port of Keelung, Lu Chuan-hsiong, 63, was enjoying his morning swim, saying he wasn’t worried.
“Everyone should want money, not bullets,” Lu said.