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

Taiwan says it has detected “several” Chinese aircraft and naval ships participating in military exercises around the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, in what could be a possible simulated attack on the island.
The ministry said some aircraft and ships are crossing the sensitive median line in the Taiwan Strait separating the island from mainland China.

“Our military has sent out alerts, deployed air patrols and naval vessels, and activated land-based missile systems in response to the situation,” the ministry said.

A boat sails through the water at the 68 nautical mile scenic spot, the closest point in mainland China to the island of Taiwan, in Pingtan in southeast China's Fujian province, Friday, August 5, 2022. China "precision missile strikes" Thursday in waters off Taiwan as part of military exercises that have raised tensions in the region to the highest levels in decades after a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
On Friday, Aug. 5, a boat sails through the water at the 68 nautical mile scenic spot, the closest point in mainland China to Taiwan Island in Pingtan in southeast China’s Fujian province. (AP)

China has not yet made any statements about the purpose of Saturday’s military exercises.

The news follows a series of military exercises China has been conducting around Taiwan since Thursday Speaker of the US House Nancy Pelosithe controversial visit to the self-governing democratic island earlier this week.

The Chinese Communist Party considers Taiwan its territory, though it has never controlled it, and has long vowed to “reunite” the island with mainland China — by force if necessary.

Pelosi ignored her furious opposition to her visit by landing in Taipei on Tuesday evening as part of a bigger Asia tour which concluded on Friday with a final stop in Japan.

But the full ramifications of her visit are only now coming to light as China halts cooperation in several areas, deteriorates already tense US-China ties and ramps up exercises in the air and waters around Taiwan.

The news follows a series of military exercises China has been holding around Taiwan since Thursday following the controversial visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-governing democratic island.
The news follows a series of military exercises China has been holding around Taiwan since Thursday following the controversial visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-governing democratic island. (Getty)

According to the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, 68 Chinese warplanes were reported in the Taiwan Strait on Friday.

Of those, 49 entered Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone – a buffer of airspace commonly referred to as an ADIZ.

That was just a few planes short of last year’s record when 56 Chinese warplanes entered the ADIZ on the same day.

Nineteen of the warplanes also crossed the median line separating the Taiwan Strait on Friday, the ministry said.

On Thursday, China launched 11 ballistic missiles, some of which flew over the island of Taiwan and landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Tokyo to make a formal complaint to Beijing.
A military fighter jet flies over the Taiwan Strait on Friday, August 5, 2022.
A military fighter jet flies over the Taiwan Strait on Friday, August 5. (AP)

That was the first time China sent missiles over the island.

Also on Thursday, two Chinese drones flew near the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, prompting the Japanese self-defense force to scramble fighter jets in response.

According to Chinese state media, the exercises will last until Sunday local time in Beijing.

Japan and other G7 economies have urged China to halt its exercises in the strait and maintain the status quo in the region.

Beijing responded by lashing out diplomatically, canceling future phone calls between Chinese and US defense leaders, annual naval meetings between the two countries and scheduled meetings between Chinese and Japanese officials.

China’s foreign ministry on Friday announced a series of countermeasures against the US, including sanctions against Pelosi and her immediate family.

China accuses US of ‘navigation bullying’

China has also suspended bilateral climate talks; cooperation on the repatriation of illegal immigrants, cross-border crime and drug operations; and legal aid in criminal matters.

The White House on Friday accused China of “punishing the whole world” by ending climate cooperation, while the defense ministry said China had “chose to overreact and use the speaker’s visit as a pretext to to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait.”

John Kirby, the communications coordinator at the National Security Council, said not all communications between the US and China had been halted and certain channels between senior leaders remained open, but added that the suspensions were still an “irresponsible act”.

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