China said on Sunday it was conducting its fourth consecutive day of military exercises in the air and at sea around Taiwan in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-governed island, despite international calls to ease tensions. to calm down.
The People’s Liberation Army said the exercises were aimed at testing its long-range air and ground strikes. It did not say whether it will continue the exercises after Sunday.
Taiwan said it continued to detect several batches of Chinese planes, ships and drones operating around the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island and mainland China, and “simulates attacks on Taiwan Island and our ships at sea.”
Taiwan’s official Central News Agency, meanwhile, reported that Taiwan’s military will conduct live-fire artillery drills in southern Pingtung County on Tuesday and Thursday in response to China’s exercises.
The exercises will include snipers, combat vehicles, armored vehicles and attack helicopters, the report said, citing an anonymous source.
China has set up no-go areas around Taiwan for the four-day exercises it announced immediately after Pelosi’s trip to Taipei on Tuesday and Wednesday that infuriated Pelosi that it viewed as a violation of its “one China” policy. China claims Taiwan and has threatened to annex it by force if necessary. The two sides split in 1949 after a civil war, but Beijing considers visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as recognition of its sovereignty.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense stressed that its military was monitoring the situation and had sent planes and ships to respond accordingly.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has called on the international community to “support democratic Taiwan” and “stop any escalation in the regional security situation”.
China has so far launched missile strikes on targets in the seas around Taiwan and sent warships across the centerline of the Taiwan Strait. It has also aborted defense and climate talks with the US and imposed sanctions on Pelosi in retaliation for her visit.
The Biden and Pelosi administrations say the US remains committed to the “one China” policy that recognizes Beijing as the legitimate government but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.
However, the US criticized Beijing’s actions in the Taiwan Strait, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre calling them “fundamentally irresponsible”.
“There is no need and no reason for this escalation,” Jean-Pierre said.
Singapore’s coordinating minister for national security, Teo Chee Hean, said in a Facebook post on Saturday that tensions between the US and China over Taiwan are “an issue that could lead to conflict and war to the detriment of all parties involved, especially the United States. people in Taiwan”.
The tensions are negatively impacting Southeast Asia, Teo said, adding, “We hope wisdom will prevail.”