China launches long-range airstrike drills around Taiwan in fourth day of military drills

The Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command said around noon local time on Sunday that it had conducted live-fire drills in the waters and airspace around Taiwan “as planned.”

“The drills focused on joint ground strikes and long-range air strike capabilities,” the command said in a statement posted on its official account on the Weibo social media platform, without specifying whether the drills have ended.

The exercises, scheduled to take place in six areas around the island, started Thursday and were scheduled to last until noon Sunday local time in Beijing, Chinese state media reported.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said as of 5 p.m. local time on Sunday, 66 Chinese fighter jets and 14 Chinese ships were detected operating around the Taiwan Strait.

Of the 22 jets entering the airspace around Taiwan, 12 crossed the median line, the statement said.

The ministry previously called the drills a “mock attack on the main island of Taiwan and Taiwanese navy vessels” – a slight emphasis on Saturday’s language when it said Chinese military drills around the island could be a “possible simulated attack.”
Does Taiwan have its own airspace?  China holds military drills near island after Pelosi's visit

The Taiwanese military “closely monitored” the situation and deployed aircraft and ships to respond “appropriately” to Chinese military exercises around the island, the defense ministry added. He also said drones “have crept” into the outer islands controlled by Taiwan.

China announced the drills – the scale of which marks a significant escalation from past activities – less than an hour after Pelosi and a congressional delegation arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday night. The stop, which was planned but not announced in advance, was part of a larger tour of Asia.

Chinese officials had repeatedly warned Washington of unspecified repercussions ahead of the planned trip. In addition to the exercises, Beijing has also launched a roundup of diplomatic sanctionsincluding cancel future phone calls between Chinese and US defense leaders and the suspension of bilateral climate talks.
The Chinese Communist Party considers self-governing Taiwan as its territory, although it has never controlled it, and has sworn for a long time to “reunite” the island with the Chinese mainland – by force if necessary.
The previous days’ exercises had seen a number of air and sea operations around the island, including the launching of 11 ballistic missiles Thursday – some of which flew over the island of Taiwan and landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. It was the first time that China had sent missiles over the island.

On Saturday, 14 ships and 20 aircraft operated by the Chinese military were detected around the strait, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry. Of the 20 planes, 14 crossed the median line, he added.

On Friday, 68 Chinese fighter jets were reported in the Taiwan Strait, according to the ministry. Of these, 49 entered the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone – an airspace buffer commonly referred to as ADIZ. That was just a few planes shy of the record set last year when 56 Chinese fighter jets entered the ADIZ on the same day.

Taiwan says multiple Chinese planes and ships spotted in possible mock attack

Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang on Sunday reiterated Taiwan’s condemnation of the exercises.

“Not only Taiwan, but other countries in the region as well as freedom-loving countries like the United States, etc., have vehemently protested and condemned China’s arrogant military operations that disrupt regional peace and stability. “, he said in an interview with the press.

“We call on the Chinese government not to flex its military muscle and not disturb regional peace.”

A spokesperson for the United States National Security Council on Saturday called China’s recent military activities around Taiwan a “significant escalation in China’s efforts to change the status quo.”

“They are provocative, irresponsible and increase the risk of miscalculation,” the spokesperson said. “They are also at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which the world has come to expect.”

US allies have also come forward to condemn China’s actions, including in a joint statement released Friday by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa following their meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Conference. Dating in Cambodia.

The diplomats “condemned (China’s) launch of ballistic missiles”, including those which the Japanese government says landed in its exclusive economic zone, for “increasing tension and destabilizing the region”, and called China “to immediately cease military exercises,” according to the statement released by the US State Department.

China retaliated late on Saturday, with its embassy in Australia calling the United States “the greatest saboteur and destabilizer of peace in the Taiwan Strait” and challenging the “legal basis” of Japan‘s claims about missile landings.

“China is a victim of political provocation by the United States. The measures taken by the Chinese government to safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity and curb separatist activities are legitimate and justified,” it said. a statement from the embassy.

CNN’s Gladys Tsai and Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.

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