China Leader Xi Jinping Orders Major Taiwan Military Drills After US Speaker Pelosi Visit
Chinese leader, Xi Jinping has ordered China’s largest-ever military exercise at Taiwan on Thursday.
This is coming after a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Recall that the Chinese President after learning that the US had planned to send it speaker to Taiwan, sent a serious warning the US president, Joe Biden over the US interference in China’s dealings with Taiwan.
Pelosi left Taiwan Wednesday after a trip that defied a series of stark threats from Beijing, which views the self-ruled island as its territory.
Pelosi was the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, and said her trip made it “unequivocally clear” that the United States would not abandon a democratic ally.
It sparked a furious reaction from Beijing, which vowed “punishment” and announced military drills in the seas around Taiwan, some of the world’s busiest waterways.
The exercises, which began around 12 pm (0400 GMT), involve “live-firing”, according to state media.
“Six major areas around the island have been selected for this actual combat exercise and during this period, relevant ships and aircraft should not enter the relevant waters and airspaces,” state broadcaster CCTV reported.
AFP journalists in the border island of Pingtan saw several small projectiles flying into the sky followed by plumes of white smoke and loud booming sounds.
AFP was not in a position to identify the projectiles, which were fired from the proximity of nearby military installations, nor their precise direction.
The exercises are taking place in multiple zones around Taiwan at some points within just 20 kilometres (12 miles) of the shore and will conclude at midday on Sunday.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said it was closely watching the drills.
“The Ministry of National Defence stresses that it will uphold the principle of preparing for war without seeking war, and with an attitude of not escalating conflict and causing disputes,” it said in a statement.
Beijing’s nationalist state-run tabloid Global Times said, citing military analysts, that the exercises were “unprecedented” and that missiles would fly over Taiwan for the first time.
“This is the first time the PLA will launch live long-range artillery across,” the Taiwan Strait, the newspaper said using the Chinese military’s formal name, the People’s Liberation Army.
The Group of Seven industrialised nations has condemned the drills, saying in a statement there was “no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait”.