The People’s Liberation Army of China on Thursday carried “precision missile strikes” in the sea surrounding Taiwan as part of military exercises using live ammunition, the Associated Press reported.
The exercises commenced a day after United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan.
Pelosi was the highest-ranking American official to visit Taiwan in 25 years despite a slew of threats from Beijing. China sees official visits by US authorities as lending support to pro-independence camps and giving credence to the idea of Taiwan as a sovereign nation.
China considers Taiwan as an island that is to be unified with the mainland.
On Thursday, China said it fired long-range explosive projectiles and carried out multiple conventional missile launches in three different areas in the eastern waters near Taiwan.
“All missiles hit the target accurately,” the Chinese Army said in an announcement, according to PTI. No further details were given.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said it will continue to strengthen its vigilance in response to Beijing’s “irrational behaviour” of carrying out live-fire military exercises. All flights were cancelled by Taiwan, according to PTI.
“The Ministry of National Defense emphasized that it will uphold the principle of preparing for war without seeking war,” a press release from the Taiwan government said. “We seek no escalation, but we don’t stand down when it comes to our security and sovereignty,” Taiwan’s defence ministry said.
Meanwhile, Beijing’s actions were condemned by Japan, which said that five ballistic missiles fired by China appear to have landed in its exclusive economic zone.
“To have five Chinese missiles fall within Japan’s EEZ like this is a first,” Japanese defence minister Nobuo Kishi said, according to Reuters. “We have protested strongly through diplomatic channels.”
On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said that Beijing’s countermeasures against Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan will be strong, resolute and effective, Xinhua news agency reported.
China will take all measures necessary to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the United States and separatist forces in Taiwan would be responsible for any consequences that arise from such measures, she added.
Twenty-seven Chinese fighter jets flew into Taiwan’s air defence zone on Wednesday, the island country’s defence ministry said.
Taiwan said that it dispatched aircraft, issued radio warnings and deployed air defence systems to “monitor the activities” of the Chinese fighter jets.
Taiwan claimed that 22 of the jets crossed a median line that separates the island from China, Reuters reported, citing an unidentified official familiar with Taipei’s security planning. However, the aircraft did not fly too far into an unofficial buffer area, the official added.
Serious confrontation, says ASEAN
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations grouping, or ASEAN, on Thursday said that tensions in the Taiwan Strait could lead to “miscalculation, serious confrontation, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences among major powers”, Reuters reported.
“ASEAN stands ready to play a constructive role in facilitating peaceful dialogue between all parties,” the bloc said in a statement, calling for maximum restraint from all sides.
The statement came at a time when ASEAN is hosting a meeting of foreign ministers of 27 countries, including those of the United States and China, in Cambodia.
At the meeting, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington has not changed its position regarding Taiwan, according to Reuters.
“The United States continues to have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” he said. “We oppose any unilateral efforts to change the status quo, especially by force.”
On the other hand, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was a “manic, irresponsible and highly irrational” action by the United States.