CNN

The Chinese military said Sunday that Chinese troops participated in exercises targeting land and long-range airstrikes around Taiwan in what is expected to be the last day of a large-scale exercise in response to a visit by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.

The Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command said Sunday around noon local time that it “continues” to conduct live-fire exercises “as planned” in the waters and airspace surrounding Taiwan.

“The exercise focused on joint fire land strike and long-range air strike capabilities,” the command said in a statement posted to its official account on social media platform Weibo, without specifying whether the exercise had ended.

The drills, scheduled to take place in six areas across the island, began on Thursday and are expected to last until noon Sunday, local time in Beijing, according to Chinese state media.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that multiple Chinese planes, naval vessels and drones were spotted operating near the Taiwan Strait that morning, in what it called a “simulated attack on the main island of Taiwan and Taiwanese naval vessels” in language Saturday, when it said China was in Military exercises around the island may be “Possible mock attack.”

Taiwan’s defense ministry added that Taiwan’s military is “closely monitoring” the situation and deploying aircraft and ships to “appropriately” respond to China’s military exercises in Taiwan. It also said drones “invaded” outlying islands controlled by Taiwan.

The ministry did not immediately provide the exact number of Chinese planes, ships or drones spotted Sunday morning, or whether they crossed the sensitive median line in the Taiwan Strait that separates Taiwan from mainland China.

Within an hour of Pelosi and a congressional delegation arriving in Taiwan on Tuesday night, China announced the drills — the scale of which marked a significant escalation from past activities. The stop was expected but unannounced as part of a larger tour of Asia.

Chinese officials have repeatedly warned Washington of possible unspecified repercussions ahead of the expected trip.In addition to the drill, Beijing also launched a Lots of diplomatic penaltiesincluding canceling future phone calls between U.S. and Chinese defense leaders and suspending bilateral climate talks.

The Chinese Communist Party considers self-governing Taiwan its territory, although it has never controlled it, and has long vowed to “unify” the island with mainland China – by force if necessary.

In previous days of exercises, Taiwan conducted a number of air and sea activities, including Thursday’s launch of 11 ballistic missiles — some of which flew over the island of Taiwan and landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. This marks the first time China has fired missiles at the island. m

According to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, 14 ships and 20 aircraft operated by the Chinese military were spotted near the strait on Saturday. It added that of the 20 aircraft, 14 crossed the centre line.

The day before, on Friday, 68 Chinese warplanes reported in the Taiwan Strait, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry. Of these, 49 entered Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone – the airspace buffer area commonly referred to as the ADIZ. That’s just a few fewer than last year’s record of 56 Chinese warplanes entering the air defense identification zone on the same day.

On Sunday, Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Zengchang reiterated Taiwan’s condemnation of the drills.

“Not only Taiwan, but other countries in the region, as well as freedom-loving countries such as the United States, have strongly protested and condemned China’s reckless military actions for undermining regional peace and stability,” he told a news conference.

“We call on the Chinese government not to show off its military power and not to undermine regional peace.”

A spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council said Saturday that China’s recent military activities around Taiwan were “a major escalation in China’s efforts to change the status quo.”

“They are provocative and irresponsible, increasing the risk of miscalculation,” the spokesman said. “They also run counter to our long-term goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which the world expects.”

Beijing has defended the drills, calling its actions “legitimate and reasonable” and calling the United States a “spoiler of peace across the Taiwan Strait.”



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