February 6, 2023

China begins ‘illegal, irresponsible’ live-fire military exercise – Taiwan

  • Chinese military exercises including live fire begin
  • Suspicious drones flying over Taiwan islands
  • Taiwan says several government websites have been hacked
  • China says it is a domestic matter

TAIPEI, Aug 4 (Reuters) – China conducted unprecedented live-fire military exercises in six areas within Taiwan’s soundings on Thursday, a day after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-governing island, which Beijing considers Chinese territory. .

After the scheduled start at 0400 GMT, China’s state broadcaster CCTV said the exercises would begin and end at 0400 GMT on Sunday. It said this would include launching direct fire into the waters and airspace surrounding Taiwan. read more

Taiwanese officials have said the exercises violate United Nations rules, encroach on Taiwan’s territorial space and pose a direct challenge to free air and sea navigation.

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Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) says China is conducting drills along busy international waterways and air routes, calling it “irresponsible and illegal behavior”.

Taiwan’s cabinet spokesman expressed strong condemnation of the drills, adding that the websites of the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the President’s Office had been attacked by hackers.

On Wednesday night, hours after Pelosi left for South Korea, unidentified aircraft, probably drones, flew over an area of ​​the Kinmen Islands off Taiwan’s mainland coast, Taiwan’s defense ministry said. read more

Major General Chang Zone-sung of the military’s Kinmen Defense Command told Reuters the drones arrived in pairs and flew twice into the Kinmen area around 9pm (1300 GMT) on Wednesday. and 10 p.m

“We immediately threw sparks to drive them away after giving warnings. After that they turned back. They came inside our restricted area and that’s why we dispersed them,” he said.

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory and reserves the right to occupy it by force, said on Thursday that its differences with the self-ruled island were an internal matter. read more

China’s Beijing-based Taiwan Affairs Office said, “Our punishment of pro-Taiwan independence, external forces is fair and legal.

Unusually, the drills in six areas around Taiwan were announced with a locator map circulated by the official Xinhua News Agency – showing the need for some analysts and scholars to play to domestic and foreign audiences. read more

On Thursday, the top eight trending items on China’s Twitter-like Weibo service were related to Taiwan, with most expressing support for exercises or anger at Pelosi.

“Let’s reunite the motherland,” wrote several users.

In Beijing, the area around the US embassy was unusually tight on Thursday, as it has been all week. There were no significant protests or calls to boycott American products.

“I think it (Pelosi’s visit) is a good thing,” said a man surnamed Zhao in the capital’s central business district. “It gives us an opportunity to encircle Taiwan, and then we use this opportunity to take Taiwan by force. I think we have Comrade Pelosi to thank.”

Confirm the pledge

Pelosi, the highest-profile U.S. visitor to Taiwan in 25 years, praised its democracy and pledged U.S. solidarity during her brief stop, saying Chinese anger could not prevent world leaders from traveling there.

China summoned the US ambassador in Beijing and suspended many agricultural imports from Taiwan to protest his visit.

“Our delegation came to Taiwan to make it clear in no uncertain terms that we will not abandon Taiwan,” Pelosi told Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, whom Beijing suspects is pushing for formal independence — a red line for China. read more

“Now, more than ever, America’s solidarity with Taiwan is important, and that’s what we’re bringing here today.”

The United States and Group of Seven foreign ministers warned China against using Pelosi’s visit as a pretext for military action against Taiwan.

“Unfortunately, due to the objections of the Chinese Communist Party, Taiwan has been barred from participating in global meetings, most recently the World Health Organization,” Pelosi said in a statement released after her departure.

“While they may prevent Taiwan from sending its leaders to global forums, neither world leaders nor anyone can prevent Taiwan from visiting to pay tribute to its thriving democracy, highlight its many successes, and reaffirm our commitment to continued cooperation,” Pelosi added. . read more

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Reporting by Yimou Lee; Additional reporting by Tony Munro; Written by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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