Taiwan says China is making simulated attack on main island | Taiwan

Written by Javed Iqbal

China’s military has gone ahead with its largest ever military exercises, targeted Taiwan with what the island’s government called a simulated attack, including further incursions across the central line and drone flights over Taiwan’s outlying islands.

Western pushback on China’s live fire drillslaunched in response to a visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this week, also continued to draw condemnation from senior US officials and foreign ministers from Australia and Japan.

Beijing loudly protested Pelosi’s visit, which it said violated its “one-China principle,” a domestic policy that outlines the government’s territorial claims over democratic and self-ruled Taiwan. Beijing sees Taiwan as part of China and has vowed to “take it back” one day, and by force if necessary.

Over the weekend, Chinese diplomats continued their campaign to blame the United States, accusing Washington of wreaking havoc in the region.

Speaking of “responsible” @StateDeptshould the US have stopped #Hairys visit to #Taiwan and stop showing muscle at China’s doorstep, stop meddling in China’s internal affairs,…

— Hua Chunying (@SpokespersonCHN) 6 August 2022

On Saturday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it had observed People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft and ships operating in the Taiwan Strait and believed they were simulating an attack on its main island.

“Several batches of Chinese Communist aircraft and ships conducting activities around the Taiwan Strait, some of which crossed the median line,” it said, referring to the unofficial boundary in the waters between China and Taiwan.

On Saturday, Taiwan also scrambled jets to alert 20 Chinese aircraft, including 14 that crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, according to Reutersciting Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense.

20 PLA ​​aircraft (SU-30*10, J-16*4, J-11*4, Y-8 ASW and Y-20 Aerial Refueling) and 14 vessels conducted an air-sea operation in the surrounding area of ​​the ROC on August 6, 2022. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/Tj6C1y0WHR pic.twitter.com/apjMe6IYMn

— Ministry of National Defence, ROC 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) 6 August 2022

Chinese warships and drones simulated attacks on US and Japanese warships off Taiwan’s east coast and close to Japanese islands, Reuters reportedciting sources.

Taiwan also said it had fired flares several nights to fend off PLA drones flying over the Kinmen Islands and unidentified aircraft flying over the Matsu Islands. The archipelago sits a few kilometers off the coast of mainland China.

News of the exercises came as Taiwan’s official media, CNA, reported that Ou Yang Li-hsing, the vice president of Taiwan’s defense ministry’s research and development unit, had been found dead in a hotel room after suffering a heart attack. It said there were no signs of a break-in to the 57-year-old’s room and that his family said he had a history of heart problems.

China says Nancy Pelosi ‘shot herself in the foot’ with Taiwan visit – video

The live-fire drills began Thursday shortly after Pelosi left Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, and targeted six major sea areas around the island, including within its territorial waters. They also included 11 ballistic missiles fired at or over the main island of Taiwan that landed in its surrounding seas and in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

In recent days, PLA officials have praised their drills, claiming they are a demonstration of blockade tactics that could be imposed on Taiwan for good one day.

Taiwan’s foreign minister on Friday defended Pelosi’s visit as “significant” in raising Taiwan’s profile as a democracy. Joseph Wu told BBC that Beijing was trying to change the status quo that Taiwan wanted to maintain.

“Taiwan has no jurisdiction over the Chinese mainland and the People’s Republic of China has no jurisdiction over Taiwan. That is the reality,” Wu said, suggesting that it was Taipei that invited Pelosi for the visit.

Beijing’s week of retaliation has also targeted the United States, with sanctions imposed on Pelosi and her family, and key agreements or collaborations suspended or cancelledincluding climate crisis negotiations and efforts to ensure bilateral military communication.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday that China should not hold talks hostage on key global issues such as the climate crisis, adding to comments by US climate envoy John Kerry that it was not punishing the US but “it is punishing the world”.

Relations between China and the US and its allies have plummeted further because of the drills. Analysts worry that the worsening conditions could wreak further havoc on the faltering global economy.

In a joint statement after the meeting on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ gathering, Blinken and the foreign ministers of Australia and Japan, Penny Wong and Yoshimasa Hayashi, called on China to immediately suspend the exercises and condemned the use of ballistic missiles.

The senior officials “expressed their concern over the recent actions of the People’s Republic of China that seriously affect international peace and stability, including the use of large-scale military exercises”.

China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, walked out of a plenary meeting in Cambodia just as Hayashi spoke on Friday. Wang also called a rare press conference late Friday, where he accused Blinken of spreading misinformation.

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The exercises around Taiwan are scheduled to mostly end on Sunday, but additional exercises in the Yellow Sea have been announced early next week.

Taiwan also reported that it had been hit by cyber attacks this week, including the websites of the president’s office and the foreign and defense ministries, as well as display screens at 7-Eleven stores and some train stations.

Wu Min-hsuan, the head of the Taiwan-based cyber monitoring group Doublethink Labs, said there used to be serious concerns about the Chinese government’s cyber warfare, but that this week’s attacks were mild and highlighted weak digital links that Taiwan had to solve.

“They want to create an image that says your security is weak and we are powerful,” he said.

Like the world’s media, people in Taiwan are following events closely. But Li Ya Chen, a 35-year-old journalist who spent two years in Shanghai between 2017 and 2019, said despite Beijing’s antagonistic response, people in Taiwan were “not too worried”.

“Pelosi’s visit last week showed that Taiwan ultimately wants good relations with the United States, and her trip could help increase Taiwan’s international support. We are already used to Beijing’s fury and we are well aware of the danger,” she said.

“The world thinks that Taiwan is now the most dangerous place on Earth, but for most of us here, life goes on.”

Additional reporting by Rebecca Ratcliffe and agencies

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Javed Iqbal

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