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Taiwan says Chinese planes, ships conducted attack simulation exercise

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Yimou Lee. By

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Chinese planes and warships conducted drills on Saturday to attack Taiwan, island officials said, in retaliation for a visit there by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in which Beijing sided with the United States in several areas. Saw the conversation.

Pelosi’s brief unannounced visit during the week to the self-governing island claimed by China angered Beijing and prompted unprecedented military exercises involving ballistic missiles fired at the capital Taipei.

The Chinese exercise is scheduled to last until Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday morning, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said that several Chinese ships and aircraft were conducting missions in the Taiwan Strait, some crossing the midline, an informal buffer separating the two sides, a movement that Taiwan’s military believes. ​—that the main was part of a simulation attack on Taiwan. island.

Taiwan’s military broadcast an alert and deployed aerial reconnaissance patrol forces and ships to monitor, keeping shore-based missiles on stand-by.

Taiwan’s defense ministry also said it had fired seven drones flying over its Kinmen Islands and unidentified planes flying over its Matsu islands with flames late Friday to warn. Both islands are located close to the southeast coast of mainland China.

Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday, despite Chinese warnings, the highest-level visit to the island by a US official in decades, and it sparked a flurry of retaliation, including sanctions against Pelosi himself.

Soon after his delegation left Japan on Friday on the final leg of a week-long Asia tour, China announced it was halting talks with the United States on a range of areas, including theater-level military commanders and climate change.

China’s foreign ministry said it was also suspending exchanges to combat cross-border crime and drug trafficking. The United States called the response “irresponsible”.

On Friday, the Eastern Theater Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army said it conducted air and sea exercises in the north, southwest and east of Taiwan to test the forces’ “combined combat capabilities”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington has repeatedly made clear to Beijing that it does not want a crisis over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

“There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and swift military response,” he told a news conference on the sidelines of regional meetings in Cambodia.

“Now, they have taken dangerous acts to a whole new level.”

Blinken insisted that the United States would not act to provoke the crisis, but that it would support the Allies and operate standard air and sea transit through the Taiwan Strait.

“We will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” he said.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Chinese officials had not responded to calls this week by senior Pentagon officials, but called it the outrage over Pelosi’s visit instead of breaking the channel between senior defense officials, including the US. as was seen. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a media briefing on Friday: “I heard that US Secretary of State Blinken held his news conference and spread some misinformation and was not telling the truth.”

“We want to issue a warning to the United States: Don’t act in haste, don’t create a bigger crisis than this,” Wang said.

“The only way out of this crisis is for the US side to correct its mistakes and take immediate measures to eliminate the serious impact of Pelosi’s visit,” Jing Quan, a senior Chinese embassy official in Washington, told a briefing. should.”

‘Fundamentally irresponsible’

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the suspension of some communication channels by China was “fundamentally irresponsible”.

“There is nothing here to improve the United States. The Chinese can go a long way to de-escalating tensions by stopping these provocative military exercises and ending the rhetoric,” Kirby told reporters.

China has made no mention of the suspension of military talks at senior levels such as Austin and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. While those talks have been short lived, officials have said it is important to have them in case of an emergency.

Kirby said it was not unusual for China to call off military talks at a time of tension, but that “not all channels” between military leaders had been cut.

According to security analysts, diplomats and US officials, there is a risk of a sudden escalation of tensions due to the severance of communication links.

“Part of this overreaction is strictly limiting its defense activities when any responsible state recognizes that we need them most,” Pentagon acting spokesman Todd Bresley said.

Speaking in Japan after meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Pelosi said his Asia visit was “not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region”.

Japan’s Defense Ministry said that four missiles flew over the capital of Taiwan, which is unprecedented. It also said that five of the nine missiles fired towards its territory landed in its exclusive economic zone, also the first, indicating a diplomatic protest.

Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communists took power in Beijing after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang nationalists in a civil war, leading to their return to the island.

Beijing says its relations with Taiwan are an internal matter and reserves the right to bring the island under Chinese control if necessary. Taiwan rejected China’s claims, saying that only the people of Taiwan can decide their future.

(Reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei, Writing by Tony Munro; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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