Chinese military exercises near Taiwan have encroached on its territory and amount to a blockade of its sea and airspace, the defence ministry has said. The exercises by the Chinese navy and air force are seen as a direct response to the 24-hour visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the most senior American lawmaker to visit the island in 25 years.
The Taiwan Defence Ministry said China had broken UN rules and it would counter any incursions into its territory. It said the live-fire exercises in the sea and airspace around Taiwan were “endangering international shipping lanes, challenging the international order, undermining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, and endangering the area”.
And it accused Beijing of using psychological warfare, urging people to report “fake news” to the authorities. Taiwan – one of the biggest global traders – has asked ships to find alternative routes and to avoid the Chinese drill areas for the next four days – from midday on Thursday until the same time on Sunday.
James Chater, a freelance journalist and photographer based in Taipei, told Sky News that according to reports, the live-fire drills “are now taking place as close as 12 nautical miles from the Taiwanese mainland”. “That marks a significant escalation from any of the grey zone warfare that we typically see from China targeted towards Taiwan on an almost daily basis,” he said.
Update(9:57ET): Less than a half-day after Nancy Pelosi’s departure from Taiwan on a US Air Force plane, a large group of 27 Chinese PLA planes breached Taiwan’s air defense identification zone Wednesday, crucially with at least 22 of the aircraft reported as having crossed the Taiwan Strait “median line”.
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