The Chinese military repeated an attack on Taiwan on Saturday as tensions continued to rise following a island tour earlier in the week by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Live-fire drills by Chinese warplanes and warships, which began on Thursday, are expected to last until Sunday.
The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense detected “several batches of communist aircraft and ships carrying out activities around the Taiwan Strait, some of which crossed the median line”. South China Morning Post reported. The center line is an unofficial separation between the two sides.
The Ministry of Defense released a photo of a Taiwanese sailor on a frigate looking at a nearby Chinese warship off the east coast of Taiwan. “Absolutely not photoshopped! “, said the caption.
Beijing also cut communications during the drills, including military-to-military channels that Secretary of State Antony Blinken called “vital to avoid misunderstandings and avert crises.”
Blinken talked about the Philippines, where he met new president Ferdinand Marcos Jr..
“What happens in the Taiwan Strait affects the whole region. In many ways, this affects the whole world because the strait, like the South China Sea, is an essential waterway,” he said.
Nearly half of the world’s container fleet and almost 90% of the world’s largest ships use the waterway, he said.
China should not suspend talks and other cooperation on important global issues such as climate, transnational crimes and counter-narcotics during Pelosi’s visit, Blinken added.
“We should not hold cooperation on issues of global concern hostage because of the differences between our two countries,” Blinken said. “Others rightly expect us to continue to work on issues that matter to the lives and livelihoods of their people as well as our own.”
The United States does not want to escalate the situation, Blinken told his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Friday. The two met in Cambodia at an annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“We are looking to defuse these tensions and we believe that dialogues are a very important part of that,” Blinken said, adding that the United States would “keep our channels of communication with China open in an effort to avoid escalation. towards misunderstanding or miscommunication”.
Separately, the deputy head of the Taiwanese Defense Ministry’s research and development unit was found dead in a hotel room in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, where he was on a business trip. The Guardian reported Ou Yang Li-hsing, 57, who died of a heart attack.