China’s military exercises continue near Taiwan

On Saturday, China continued to express anger over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan, with the third consecutive day of invasive military exercises closer to the island than ever before and raised concerns about potential conflict.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said on Saturday that several batches of Chinese military aircraft and warships have been detected around the Taiwan Strait, with some crossing the unofficial median line dividing island with mainland China. The ministry said it appeared to be participating in an exercise simulating an attack on the Taiwan coup.

Already have, of China show of forceslated to last until Sunday, has threatened territory Taiwan considers its own more directly than any previous exercise.

China launched at least 11 missiles into the waters north, south and east of Taiwan, including at least one over the island, although Taiwan said the missile flew at a high altitude. there is no threat. On Friday, it also deployed fighter jets, bombers, destroyers, drones and corvettes to waters near the island. Some of the areas the Chinese military designated for this week’s exercises are closer to the island than areas announced during the Taiwan Strait crisis in the mid-1990s, which also involved China’s firing of missiles around Taiwan.

According to Taiwanese officials, since the drills began on Thursday, at least 49 Chinese military jets have crossed the median line.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday that China had “unilaterally created a crisis” by overreacting to Ms. Pelosi’s visit.

“The people of Taiwan have the right to make friends with the rest of the world, and China has no right to interfere in the rest of the world’s friendship with Taiwan,” the statement read.

The drills were the most visible element of China’s response to Ms. Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, which she said was intended to show support for the island and its vibrant democracy. Before her arrival on Tuesday, China had repeatedly warned that the gesture by Ms. Pelosi – the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years – would have “serious consequences”. China claims Taiwan as its own territory and the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, has promised eventual reunification, through force if necessary.

China also said on Friday that it will cancel or suspend negotiations with the United States on military coordination and climate change, which some analysts say could increase the likelihood of disinformation turning into a full-fledged crisis.

At the same time, the United States is seeking to strengthen ties with other Asian countries, as a counterweight to China’s global and regional influence. On Saturday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with the president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in Manila. In a public exchange, Mr Marcos told Mr Blinken that he did not think Ms Pelosi’s visit had “increased the intensity” of tensions in the region, which he said were already high – a rebuttal. explicitly repudiate China’s claim that the United States. States are responsible for the current frictions.

Fears that China would seek to block Ms. Pelosi’s visit have not materialized. But US officials remain concerned that the exercises, which began less than 24 hours after she left Taiwan, could still escalate, intentionally or unintentionally, into more direct conflict.

Chinese officials, who have encouraged swaggering and sometimes sinister nationalism at home, may feel pressured to show they are having a strong response. Some Chinese social media users expressed disappointment or confused that the government did not go further to prevent Ms. Pelosi’s visit; Some made it clear that they were expecting military action.

Even if the exercises do not directly escalate into a full-blown crisis, they could signal a new form of aggression and aggression by the Chinese military. The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, said in an editorial on Friday that the work to promote reunification with Taiwan has “entered a new phase”.

The United States has tried to avoid provoking China further. It has said it remains committed to Taiwan’s status quo, acknowledging China’s claim to the island without recognizing it. The Pentagon has ordered the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to “continue to station” in the area, while maintaining a distance from the Taiwan Strait.

But China has made it clear that it considers any criticism of its exercises an insult. It summoned several ambassadors after their countries expressed concern about exercises. After several Chinese missiles landed on Thursday in waters that Japan claims as its own, prompting the Japanese prime minister to call “stop immediately“A representative for the Chinese Embassy in Japan told Japan does not let “slide into the abyss” of geopolitical confrontation.

Amy Chang Chien, John Liu and Edward Wong contribution report.

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