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Chinese military begins ‘strategic’ drills around Taiwan: state media

A TV screen shows that China’s People’s Liberation Army has begun military exercises including live firing on the waters and in the airspace surrounding the island of Taiwan, as reported by Chinese state television in Hong Kong on August 4, 2022.

A TV screen shows that China’s People’s Liberation Army has begun military exercises including live firing on the waters and in the airspace surrounding the island of Taiwan, as reported by Chinese state television in Hong Kong on August 4, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

China’s People’s Liberation Army has begun military exercises including live firing on the waters and in the airspace surrounding the island of Taiwan, Chinese state television reported on Thursday.

The drills, spread out across six locations, are due to end at 12:00 p.m. (0400 GMT) on Sunday. The exercises followed U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, a trip condemned by Beijing, which claims the self-governed island as its own.

Also Read | China targets Taiwan with military, economic measures after Pelosi visit

Significantly, in the north, east and south, the exercise areas bisect Taiwan’s claimed 12 nautical miles of territorial waters - something Taiwanese officials say challenges the international order and amount to a blockade of its sea and air space.

The locations encircle the island in an unprecedented formation, Meng Xiangqing, a professor at the National Defence University, told Chinese state television, describing how an actual military operation against Taiwan could play out.

Also Read | U.S.-China ties on a precipice after Pelosi visit to Taiwan

“In fact, this has created very good conditions for us when, in the future, we reshape our strategic landscape conducive to our unification,” Mr. Meng said.

Chinese forces in two areas off the northern coast of Taiwan could potentially seal off Keelung, a major port, while strikes could be launched from an area east of Taiwan targeting the military bases in Hualien and Taidong, Mr. Meng said.

The “doors” to Kaoshiung could also be closed by Chinese military off the southwestern coast, Mr. Meng said.

Chinese vessels, aircraft make multiple incursions over median line - Taiwanese source

China’s military made multiple brief incursions of the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait starting on Wednesday night and continuing through Thursday morning, a Taiwan source briefed on the matter told Reuters.

During that time, about 10 Chinese navy ships briefly crossed the median line before they were “driven away” by Taiwanese navy boats, said the person, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

By midday on Thursday, military vessels from both sides remained in the area and in close proximity.

“They sneaked in, and were driven away by us,” the Taiwanese source told Reuters.

Also Read | China summons U.S. envoy Nicholas Burns, warns America shall ‘pay price’ as Pelosi visits Taiwan

Meanwhile, multiple Chinese air force planes briefly crossed the median line several times on Thursday morning, forcing Taiwan to scramble jets and deploy missile systems to track their movement, the person said.

“They flew in and then flew out, again and again. They continue to harass us and increase our air defence pressure.”

China is conducting targeted military drills in zones surrounding Taiwan which it said were launched following the visit of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei earlier this week.


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Printable version | Aug 4, 2022 1:54:47 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/chinese-military-begins-strategic-drills-around-taiwan-state-media/article65725032.ece