China announces new military drills around Taiwan

A Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan Island, one of mainland China’s closest points to Taiwan, on August 5, 2022.

Hector Retamal | AFP | beautiful pictures

China’s military announced new military exercises on Monday in the waters and airspace around Taiwan – a day after concluding its largest-ever scheduled exercise aimed at protested last week’s visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

China’s Eastern Theater Command said it would conduct joint exercises focused on anti-submarine and strike operations at sea – confirming the concerns of some foreign and security analysts. delivered that Beijing would continue to maintain pressure on Taiwan’s defense capabilities.

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week angered China, which considers the self-ruled island its own and responded with ballistic missile tests for the first time over Taipei, as well as abandoning a number of lines of dialogue with Washington.

The exact time and location of the latest drills remains unclear, but Taiwan has eased flight restrictions near six previous Chinese exercise zones around the island.

Just before the latest drills were announced, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visited St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, told him she was touched by his determination to visit despite China’s military pressure.

“Prime Minister Gonsalves has expressed in recent days that Chinese military exercises will not prevent him from visiting friends in Taiwan. These statements have moved us deeply.” Mr. Tsai said at the welcome ceremony for Gonsalves in Taipei.

It is unclear whether Tsai invited Gonsalves before or after Pelosi’s visit. “We do not disclose internal plans or communications between governments,” Taiwan’s foreign ministry said when asked by Reuters.

In addition to firing 11 short-range ballistic missiles during the previous four days of exercises, Chinese warships, warplanes and drones maneuvered extensively around the island.

Shortly before those exercises ended on Sunday, about 10 Chinese and Taiwanese warships each deployed to areas near the unofficial median line of the Taiwan Strait, according to the report. a person familiar with the situation regarding the security plan.

Military talks are shelved

Taiwan’s defense ministry said Chinese military ships, planes and drones simulated attacks on the island and its navy. It said it sent planes and ships to react “appropriately.”

Meanwhile, China’s Defense Ministry maintained diplomatic pressure on the United States, defending the postponement of military talks between the country in protest of Mr. Pelosi’s visit.

Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said: “The current tense situation in the Taiwan Strait is completely self-provoked and created by the US side, and the US side must bear full responsibility and serious consequences for the situation. this,” Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in an online post.

“The bottom line cannot be broken, and communication requires sincerity,” Wu said.

China suspended formal talks involving theater-level orders, defense policy coordination and maritime military consultations on Friday as Pelosi left the region.

Pentagon, State Department and White House officials condemned the move, describing it as an irresponsible overreaction.

China’s cutting of some communication links with the US military increases the risk of an inadvertent escalation to Taiwan at a critical time, according to security and diplomatic analysts.

A US official noted that Chinese officials did not return calls from senior Pentagon officials amid tensions last week, but they did not consider this an official act of severance. relationships with high-ranking figures, such as US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Asked directly about those reports, Defense Ministry spokesman Wu said: “China’s relevant retaliatory measures are a necessary warning against provocative actions by the United States and Taiwan. , and at the same time a legitimate protection measure for national sovereignty and security.”

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