Taiwan accuses China of simulating an attack on the island | International

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Taiwan assures that the People’s Liberation Army (the Chinese Armed Forces) has carried out a mock attack on the island this Saturday morning. The exercise is part of military drills launched Thursday by China in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. For the Chinese government, its brief stop on the island, which functions as a state de facto —and that Beijing considers a rebellious province—, represents a “flagrant undermining of territorial integrity”, and it has not hesitated to respond as it had been warning for weeks. In addition to these unprecedented war practices around Taiwan, the world’s second-largest economic power decided to freeze cooperation with the United States on key issues (such as the environment, drug control or the military) and sanction Pelosi and her close family. The White House, for its part, has described this reaction as “irresponsible” because “it punishes everyone.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken has maintained that Washington is not seeking any crisis and has criticized Beijing’s military response.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense reported this Saturday that Chinese warships and warplanes carried out maneuvers in the Strait of Formosa, and 49 of them crossed the median dividing line again, an unofficial border, but which until now was respected. small cup. From the department they consider that these incursions by Chinese forces are a simulation of an attack on the main island. Faced with this situation, the Taiwanese military has issued a warning, deployed aerial reconnaissance patrol forces and surveillance boats, and put on-shore missiles on standby.

Taipei assures that the war exercises that, in principle, will last until Sunday at noon, suppose an air and maritime blockade de facto of the island. According to local media, the maneuvers have affected 18 international air routes on the island and more than 900 flights have been forced to change their itinerary in the last three days.

In addition, the Taiwanese army reported again this Saturday that it had to launch flares to disperse seven Chinese military drones that flew over the Kinmen Islands on Friday night. This small archipelago controlled by Taipei is located just 10 kilometers from the southern Chinese city of Xiamen. The Taiwanese military also sent out a warning upon detecting an unidentified aircraft over the Matsu and Dongyin islands.

In China, for its part, state media continue to publish nationalist content related to the maneuvers. The People’s Liberation Army TV channel has broadcast a video of soldiers carrying out medical drills on a high-speed train that has been converted into a mobile hospital. They say the vehicle is equipped with an intensive care unit and operating room, and could hold up to a hundred patients, suggesting they are preparing for the possibility of casualties.

According to the state television network CCTV, fighters, bombers, early warning and reconnaissance planes flew around Taiwan in the drills on Friday. In an interview with that medium, the pilot Hou Hong stated that he and other colleagues flew near the island on a mission to deter and increase pressure.

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Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has also overshadowed the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), held in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, a meeting aimed, among other issues, at bringing together efforts to find a solution to the grave crisis in which Myanmar is engulfed. The forum, which was attended by powers such as China, the United States, Russia and Japan, ended without major agreements being announced and after the closure was delayed until this Saturday due to growing tensions between Beijing and Washington.

The US Secretary of State reiterated during the summit that his country has made it clear to China that it was not looking for a crisis with the visit of the Democratic politician. “There is no justification for this extreme and disproportionate military response,” he pointed out. Blinken assured that Washington would support its allies and would carry out normal air and sea transit through the Strait of Formosa: “We will fly, navigate and operate where international law allows,” he stressed.

For his part, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that in his remarks, “Blinken spread wrong information and did not speak honestly.” “We want to issue a warning to the United States: Don’t act hastily, don’t rush to create a bigger crisis,” Wang warned.

Jing Quan, a senior official at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, also echoed Wang Yi’s remarks: “The only way out of this crisis is for the US side to immediately take steps to rectify its mistakes and eliminate the serious impact of Pelosi’s trip. The White House security spokesman, John Kirby, considers, however, that “there is nothing that the United States needs to rectify.”

With her Asia-Pacific tour (which also took her to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan this week), Pelosi has also drawn criticism from Pyongyang. The North Korean state news agency KCNA quotes Jo Yong-sam, director general of the Department of Press and Information of the North Korean Foreign Ministry, who states that “the United States will have to pay dearly for all the problems it is creating. [Pelosi] in the places you have visited. The Democratic politician took advantage of her trip to Seoul to approach the Panmunjom Joint Security Area, in the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas.

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