Taiwan says China ‘rehearses to attack the island’

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said a number of Chinese ships and aircraft crossed the median line this morning, suspecting a simulated attack on the island.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it had observed “several” Chinese aircraft and ships operating in the Taiwan Strait, believing Beijing was rehearsing an attack on the island.

Some have crossed the median line, Taiwan’s defense ministry added, referring to the line that is implied to be the line that demarcates the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has issued warnings, deployed an aerial reconnaissance force, deployed ships and coastal missile systems to respond.

The Chinese side has not yet commented on this information.

A China Coast Guard vessel travels in the waters off the 68-nautical-mile scenic spot, one of mainland Chinas closest points to the island of Taiwan, in Pingtan island, Fujian province, China August 5, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song

A Chinese coast guard ship moves near Pingtan Island, Fujian province, on August 5. Image: Reuters.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry also said it fired flares late on August 5 to scare away seven unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over the Kinmen island group and warn of an unidentified aircraft flying over the island group. Ma To. Taiwan’s Self-Defense Forces are on high alert for two groups of islands adjacent to mainland China.

China is holding unprecedented large-scale live-fire drills around Taiwan in response to the visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on August 2-3. The location of the drill is in the area of ​​the Taiwan Strait, the Ba Si Canal, the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, surrounding the island of Taiwan. One of the six drill areas is located less than 20 kilometers from the city of Kaohsiung in the south of the island.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby criticized China’s actions as “provocative” and significantly escalated tensions in the Taiwan Strait. He also affirmed that the US had nothing to “fix” regarding Ms. Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Earlier, the Chinese embassy official in Washington said the only way to end the crisis in US-China relations caused by Ms. Pelosi’s visit was for the US to immediately “correct its mistake”.

Taiwan has been a hot issue in US-China bilateral relations in recent years. China has always considered Taiwan as a province awaiting reunification and declared its readiness to use force if necessary. The US is committed to respecting the “One China” principle, but continues to maintain relations with Taiwan and provide the island with modern weapons.

The median line (blue) along the Taiwan Strait.  Graphics: FT.

The median line (blue) along the Taiwan Strait. Graphics: FT.

Like Tam (Theo AFP, Reuters)

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