- Chinese ships planes carry out simulated attack
- Blinken calls cessation of dialogue China ‘irresponsible’
- China calls on US to ‘correct mistakes’
TAIPEI, Aug. 6 (Reuters) – Taiwanese officials said Chinese planes and warships practiced an attack on the island on Saturday, part of Beijing’s retaliation for a visit there by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who also held talks with the United States on, among other things, defense and climate change.
Pelosi’s brief visit this week to the self-ruled island that China considers its territory infuriated Beijing and led to unprecedented military exercises, including ballistic missiles fired over the capital Taipei.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused China of taking “irresponsible steps” by shutting down key channels of communication with Washington, saying his actions toward Taiwan marked a shift from prioritizing a peaceful solution to use of violence. read more
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The Chinese exercises – centered at six locations on the island – began Thursday and will last until Sunday afternoon.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said multiple Chinese ships and planes have conducted missions in the Taiwan Strait, with some crossing the median line, an unofficial buffer dividing the two sides, in what the Taiwan military described as a simulation attack on the island.
China’s Eastern Theater Command said it had continued to conduct joint sea and air exercises north, southwest and east of Taiwan. It said the focus was on testing the system’s land attack and naval attack capabilities.
Chinese warships and planes continued to “push” into the centerline of the Taiwan Strait on Saturday afternoon, said a person familiar with security planning.
Off the east coast of Taiwan and close to Japanese islands, Chinese warships and drones simulated attacks on American and Japanese warships, the person added.
Taiwan’s military sent out an alert as it deploys patrol troops and air reconnaissance ships to monitor and put on standby the shore missiles.
The island’s Ministry of Defense published a photo of a Taiwanese sailor on a frigate looking at a nearby Chinese warship off the east coast of Taiwan. “Definitely not photoshopped!” the caption reads.
It also said it fired flares late Friday to warn seven drones flying over the Kinmen Islands and unidentified aircraft flying over the Matsu Islands. Both archipelagos are close to the coast of mainland China.
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday for the highest visit to the island by a US official in decades, despite Chinese warnings.
Shortly after its delegation left Japan on Friday, the final stop of a week-long Asian tour, China announced that it was suspending dialogue with the United States on a number of areas, including contacts between theater-level military commanders and on climate change.
During a visit to the Philippines, Blinken said the United States had heard concerns from allies about what he called China’s dangerous and destabilizing actions around Taiwan, but Washington would remain steadfast in its handling of the situation and try to prevent the situation from escalating. .
He said China’s cessation of bilateral dialogue in eight key areas was steps that would punish the world, not just the United States.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a media briefing Friday that Blinken was spreading “misinformation”, adding: “We want to warn the United States: don’t rush, don’t create a bigger crisis,” Wang said.
Jing Quan, a senior official at the Chinese embassy in Washington, reiterated during a briefing: “The only way out of this crisis is for the US to take immediate action to correct its mistakes and remove the dire consequences of Pelosi’s visit.” .”
‘PROVOCATIVE MILITARY EXERCISES’
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Friday there was nothing for the United States to rectify.
“The Chinese can go a long way in easing tensions by simply stopping these provocative military exercises and ending the rhetoric,” he told reporters.
China has made no mention of a suspension of military talks at the highest levels, such as with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley. While those calls aren’t common, officials have said they’re important in an emergency.
Kirby said it was not unusual for China to cut off military talks in times of tension, but “not all channels” between military leaders had been cut.
Speaking in Japan after meeting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Pelosi said her Asia trip was “not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region.” read more
The Japanese Ministry of Defense reported that as many as four missiles flew over the capital of Taiwan, which is unprecedented. It also said that five of the nine missiles fired into its territory landed in its exclusive economic zone.
Kishida told the visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he strongly condemned China’s missile launches as “a serious problem related to the security of Japan and the security of the Japanese people,” the foreign ministry said.
The Chinese embassy in Australia, meanwhile, said Beijing hoped Australia will exercise caution on Taiwan issues and avoid being led by others, which could create new problems for ties between the two countries.
The spokesman’s comments, posted on the embassy’s website, were comments on an earlier statement by Blinken and the foreign ministers of Australia and Japan expressing concerns about China’s military exercises.
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 them to retreat to the island.
Beijing says relations with Taiwan are an internal matter and that it reserves the right to bring the island under its control, if necessary by force. Taiwan rejects China’s claims that only the Taiwanese people can decide their future.
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Reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei, David Brunnstrom in Manila and Brenda Goh in Shanghai Written by Tony Munroe and Greg Torode Edited by Robert Birsel and Frances Kerry
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