China continues military drills in Taiwan Strait

The People's Liberation Army said the exercises focused on testing its long-range air and ground strikes

August 07, 2022 04:35 pm | Updated August 08, 2022 11:30 am IST - Beijing

A marine vessel sails past a Taiwanese Coast Guard ship back to port in Taitung, Taiwan.

A marine vessel sails past a Taiwanese Coast Guard ship back to port in Taitung, Taiwan. | Photo Credit: Annabelle Chih

China on August 7, 2022 continued its live-fire military exercises in waters near Taiwan for the fourth day, while also announcing new exercises in the Yellow Sea, between China and the Korean peninsula.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Thursday began unprecedented four-day live-fire exercises in six regions surrounding Taiwan, a day after the visit of United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-level visit in 25 years. The drills were due to conclude on Sunday.

The exercises in recent days marked the first firing of conventional missiles over the island of Taiwan as well as the crossing of dozens of Chinese aircraft and warships across the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

On Sunday, the last day of the drills, the PLA Eastern Theatre Command practised “island saturation attack drills and bomber deterrence flights”, the Communist Party-run Global Times reported, focusing on “testing the troops’ joint land attack and long-range air strike capabilities”.

Separately, Chinese authorities announced on Sunday it will also conduct live-fire military exercises on the Yellow and Bohai seas, between China and the Korean peninsula. The Bohai Sea drill will be held from Monday until September 8, while Yellow Sea exercises, which started on Sunday, will run until August 15, according to the Maritime Safety Administration.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence said on Saturday the drills were likely “a possible simulated attack” on Taiwan. It said Taiwan had tracked 20 PLA aircraft and 14 vessels conducting air-sea operations on Saturday, slightly lower than the record 68 aircraft and 13 vessels that the ministry said had been tracked on Friday, with some of those crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

Chinese military analysts described the exercises as carrying out an effective blockade, with the waters and airspace closed in six regions around Taiwan during the drills, and as signalling a new normal in China’s military activities around Taiwan.

Two of the exercise zones were off the coast of the ports of Taipei and Keelung, while the southern and eastern zones were off the ports of Kaohsiung and Hualien.

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