Chinese Army Ships and Planes Enter Taiwanese Territorial Waters | International


Taiwan, the self-governing island that China claims as part of its territory, has woken up this Friday, for the second day in a row, immersed in what its authorities have described as a “sea and air blockade” due to the military maneuvers of the People’s Liberation Army (EPL). , the Chinese Armed Forces). These exercises, whose magnitude is unprecedented, represent Beijing’s response to the controversial visit, on Tuesday and Wednesday, by the president of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to the former Formosa, which has infuriated China. Hours before the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it will impose sanctions on Pelosi for undermining “Chinese territorial integrity”, the Asian giant’s military forces crossed what Taipei considers a red line. The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense denounced that Chinese ships and fighter planes had crossed the median dividing line of the Taiwan Strait around eleven in the morning (five in the morning, Spanish peninsular time), an unofficial border but which until now has been tacitly respected. Taipei has defined this fact as “a strong provocation”.

From those ships, at least 11 ballistic missiles have been launched. Four of them have flown over the capital, Taipei, for the first time. The use of these weapons has also spread the crisis to Japan, which on Thursday sent Beijing a diplomatic protest after five projectiles fell into its waters.

“China has launched missiles near Taiwanese waters this morning. This provocation threatens our security, heightens tensions in the region, and disrupts international transportation and trade,” the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry tweeted.

The Asian giant began these war drills on Thursday that, in principle, will last until Sunday and that include the closure of maritime and air space in six areas around Taiwan and live fire exercises. One of them is located just 20 kilometers from the coast of Kaohsiung, the main city in the south of the island.

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Missiles over the capital

Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang, for his part, has defined China as the “evil neighbor next door”. “(We) did not expect that the evil next-door neighbor would show his might at our doorstep and arbitrarily endanger the world’s busiest waterways with his military exercises,” he told reporters, according to Reuters.

Chinese missiles have flown over the capital, Taipei, up to four times. Some city residents, including Mayor Ko Wen-je, have criticized the government for failing to issue a missile alert, a decision some security experts say was made to prevent panic. Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense has specified that the missiles flew high in the atmosphere and did not constitute a threat to the population, although it has not given details about their flight paths.

Chinese rocket launch on Thursday, at an unspecified location. Image provided by the Chinese Army’s Eastern Command. EASTERN THEATER COMMAND (via REUTERS)

According to the Defense portfolio, more than a hundred fighter planes are flying over the vicinity of the island, an unprecedented war game that the Taiwanese authorities say involves a blockade de facto. Taipei maintains that ships arriving in or leaving Taiwan will have to avoid the areas where the Chinese army is carrying out its exercises, a situation that, if prolonged over time, could have an impact on communications on the island. According to local media, the Chinese drills have affected 18 international air routes on the island and more than 900 flights have been forced to change their route.

The island’s military authorities say the army is closely monitoring the exercises and has sent warplanes and warships and deployed a land-based missile system to monitor the situation. This Friday morning, cyberattacks on government websites, such as those of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which suffered momentary disconnections, also continued.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense has affirmed, for its part, that five of the at least 11 missiles that China has fired in these exercises around Taiwan landed in its exclusive economic zone, something unusual that has provoked a diplomatic protest before the Government. Chinese, to which Beijing has responded by making the Japanese authorities ugly for having signed the joint statement of the G-7 and the European Union on this crisis. In that document, released Thursday, the seven most industrialized nations in the world and Brussels affirmed that there was “no justification in using a visit [la de Pelosi] as a pretext for aggressive military activity. China has also protested that statement to EU envoys in Beijing.

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