BEIJING (AP) – Taiwan said on Saturday that China’s military exercises appear to simulate an attack on the self-ruled island, after several Chinese warships and planes crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said on Twitter that Taiwan’s armed forces issued an alert, sent air and naval patrols around the island and activated land-based missile systems in response to the situation.
China launched a live-fire military exercise following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week, saying her visit violated a “one-China” policy. China sees the island as a separate province that would be annexed by force if necessary, and considers visits to Taiwan by foreign officials in recognition of its sovereignty.
Separately on Saturday, Taiwan’s military detected four unmanned aerial vehicles flying in the vicinity of the offshore county of Kinmen, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported.
According to Taiwan’s Kinmen Defense Command, four drones, which Taiwan believed were Chinese, were seen in the waters around the Kinmen Islands and nearby Liu Island and Beiding Islet.
In response, the Taiwanese military issued a warning.
“Our government and military are closely monitoring China’s military exercises and information warfare operations, ready to respond as necessary,” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet.
“I call on the international community to support democratic Taiwan and stop the regional security situation from escalating,” she said.
Kinmen, also known as Qomoy, are a group of islands administered by Taiwan. The islands are located approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) east of the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian Province.
The Chinese military exercise began on Thursday and is expected to last till Sunday. So far, the exercises have included missile strikes at sea targets in the north and south of the island, an echo of the last major Chinese military exercises in 1995 and 1996 aimed at intimidating Taiwanese leaders and voters.
Taiwan has put its military on alert and conducted civil defense exercises, while the US has several naval assets in the region.
The Biden administration and Pelosi have said the US remains committed to a “one-China” policy, which recognizes Beijing as China’s government, but allows for informal ties and defense ties with Taipei. The administration discouraged but did not stop Pelosi from coming.
China has also cut defense talks with the US and imposed sanctions on Pelosi in retaliation for travel.
Pelosi has long been a human rights advocate in China. He, along with other lawmakers, visited Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1991 to support democracy, two years after the bloody military crackdown on protesters at the square.
The Associated Press