Taiwan says Chinese warplanes, ships conduct attack simulation exercise

By Yimou Lee and David Brunnstrom

TAIPEI, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Taiwan officials said Chinese planes and warships rehearsed an attack on the island on Saturday as part of Beijing’s retaliation for a visit by the U.S. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who has also halted talks with Washington on issues including defense and climate change.

Pelosi’s brief visit this week to the self-governing island China considers its territory angered Beijing and sparked unprecedented military drills around Taiwan that included ballistic missiles fired at the capital, Taipei.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused China of taking “irresponsible steps” by shutting off key communication channels with Washington, saying its actions on Taiwan showed a move away from prioritizing peaceful resolution toward using the strength.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said several Chinese ships and planes carried out missions in the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, with some crossing the median line, an unofficial buffer separating the two sides, in what the Taiwanese military described as a simulation. attack on the island.

The ministry later said that Taiwan sent planes to warn 20 Chinese aircraft, including 14 that crossed the median line. It also detected 14 Chinese military ships carrying out activities around the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said in a statement.

China’s East Theater Command said it had continued to hold joint sea and air exercises to the north, southwest and east of Taiwan. He said his goal was to test the system’s ground-attack and sea-assault capabilities.

The Chinese exercises, centered in six locations around the island, began on Thursday and will last until noon on Sunday.

Chinese warships and planes continued to “press” the median line of the Taiwan Strait on Saturday afternoon, a person familiar with the security planning said. Off Taiwan’s east coast and near Japanese home islands, Chinese warships and drones simulated attacks on US and Japanese warships, the person added.

Taiwan’s military issued a warning as it deployed aerial reconnaissance patrol forces and ships to monitor and put on standby land-based missiles.

The island’s Defense Ministry released a photo of a Taiwanese sailor on a frigate looking at a nearby Chinese warship off Taiwan’s east coast. “Absolutely not photoshopped!” read the caption.

He also said he fired flares on Friday night to warn seven drones flying over his Kinmen Islands and unidentified aircraft flying over his Matsu Islands. Both groups of islands are close to the coast of China.

“China’s military exercises unilaterally changed the current situation in the region and seriously damaged the peace across the Taiwan Strait,” Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said.

Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday in the highest-level visit to the island by a US official in decades, despite Chinese warnings. Shortly after his delegation left Japan on Friday, the last leg of a week-long tour of Asia, China announced it was suspending dialogue with the United States in a number of areas.

Speaking during a visit to the Philippines, Blinken said the United States had been listening to allies’ concerns about what he called China’s dangerous and destabilizing actions around Taiwan, but that Washington would stand firm in its handling of the situation and try to avoid an escalation.

He stated that China’s cessation of bilateral dialogue in eight key areas are measures that would punish the world.

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a news conference on Friday that Blinken was spreading “misinformation,” adding: “We want to issue a warning to the United States: don’t act rashly, don’t create a bigger crisis.” “.

(Reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei, David Brunnstrom in Manila, Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Meg Shen in Hong Kon; Additional reporting by Ryan Woo; Writing by Tony Munroe and Greg Torode; Editing in Spanish by Manuel Farías)

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