China begins ‘unprecedented’ military drills around Taiwan

China begins ‘unprecedented’ military drills around Taiwan

access_time2022-08-04 11:13:39

State media frame military exercises in six areas around self-ruled island as war plan rehearsal.

China has begun large-scale military sea and air exercises around the self-ruled island of Taiwan, hours after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s departure from Taipei following a whirlwind visit  that infuriated Beijing.

State media reported the live-fire drills in six areas around Taiwan got underway at noon local time (04:00 GMT) and will continue until the same time on August 7.

China began military manoeuvres on Tuesday night following Pelosi’s arrival and later announced a raft of retaliatory economic measures in response to Pelosi’s visit.

Military activity continued on Wednesday, with Taiwan saying the drills violated United Nations rules, invaded its territorial space and amounted to a blockade of its air and sea.

On Thursday, the Ministry of National Defense described China’s military activities as “irrational” and with the “intention of changing the status quo and undermining regional peace and stability”.

Beijing claims Taiwan as its own and has not ruled out the use of force to take control of the island.

Pelosi’s visit was the first by a sitting speaker of the house, the third most senior politician in the US, in 25 years. Beijing had threatened “serious consequences” if she went ahead with the visit.

The last big crisis in the Taiwan Strait took place in 1996, in the run-up to the re-election of President Lee Teng-hui, who had visited the US the previous year.

China has  modernised and expanded its armed forces since then, launching its first aircraft carrier and testing hypersonic weaponry.


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