China’s military announced fresh military drills on Monday in the seas and airspace around Taiwan -- a day after the scheduled end of its largest ever exercises to protest against last week’s visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
China’s Eastern Theatre Command said it would conduct joint drills focusing on anti-submarine and sea assault operations -- confirming the fears of some security analysts and diplomats hat Beijing would continue to maintain pressure on Taiwan’s defenses.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week infuriated China, which regards the self-ruled island as its own and responded with test launches of ballistic missiles over Taipei for the first time, as well as ditching some lines of dialogue with Washington.
The duration and precise location of the latest drills is not yet known, but Taiwan has already eased flight restrictions near the six earlier Chinese exercise areas surrounding the island.
Shortly before the latest drills were announced, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met visiting St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, telling him she was moved by his determination to visit despite China’s military pressure.
“Prime Minister Gonsalves has expressed in recent days that the Chinese military drills would not prevent him from visiting friends in Taiwan. These statements have deeply touched us,” Tsai said at a welcome ceremony for Gonsalves in Taipei.
It was unclear if Tsai had invited Gonsalves before or after Pelosi’s visit. “We don’t disclose internal planning or communications between governments,” the Taiwanese foreign ministry said when asked by Reuters.
Beyond the firing of 11 short-range ballistic missiles during the four earlier days of exercises, Chinese warships, fighter jets and drones maneuvered extensively around the island.
Shortly before those drills ended on Sunday, about 10 warships each from China and Taiwan maneuvered at close quarters around the unofficial median line of the Taiwan Strait, according to a person familiar with the situation who is involved with security planning.
Military talks shelved
Taiwan’s defense ministry said Chinese military ships, aircraft, and drones had simulated attacks on the island and its navy. It said it had sent aircraft and ships to react “appropriately.”
China’s defense ministry meanwhile maintained its diplomatic pressure on the United States, defending its shelving of military-to-military talks in protest at Pelosi’s visit.
“The current tense situation in the Taiwan Strait is entirely provoked and created by the US side on its own initiative, and the US side must bear full responsibility and serious consequences for this,” defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in an online post.
“The bottom line cannot be broken, and communication requires sincerity,” Wu said.
China called off formal talks involving theatre-level commands, defense policy co-ordination and military maritime consultations on Friday as Pelosi left the region.
Pentagon, State Department and White House officials condemned the move, describing it as an irresponsible over-reaction.
China’s cutting of some of its few communication links with the US military raises the risk of an accidental escalation over Taiwan at a critical moment, according to security analysts and diplomats.
One US official noted that Chinese officials had not responded to calls from senior Pentagon officials amid the tensions last week, but that they did not see this as a formal severing of ties with senior figures, such as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Asked directly about those reports, defense ministry spokesman Wu said, “China’s relevant counter-measures are a necessary warning to the provocations of the United States and Taiwan, and a legitimate defense of national sovereignty and security.”
One year after Afghanistan, spy agencies pivot toward ChinaIn a recent closed-door meeting with leaders of the agency’s counterterrorism center, the CIA’s No. 2 official made clear that fighting al-Qaeda and ... World News
Taiwan vows not to bow to pressure, China drills set to endTaiwan reiterated it won’t succumb to pressure from China after days of military drills in the air and seas surrounding the island, with hostilities ... World News
Blinken: China’s shutting down of cooperation channels with US ‘irresponsible’US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday that China's latest actions on Taiwan was moving away from a practice of resolving issues ... World News
Blinken hails strong US-Philippine alliances, as China conducts drills around TaiwanUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr Saturday in a bid to bolster the countries' “strong” alliance, ... World News
China can lower tensions over Taiwan by ending drills: USThe United States condemned China on Friday for cutting off bilateral cooperation in a number of key areas, and said Beijing can ease tensions over ... World News
China halts high-level military dialogue with US, suspends other cooperationChina says it is canceling or suspending dialogue with the US on issues from climate change to military relations and anti-drug efforts in retaliation ... World News
We will sanction Pelosi over Taiwan visit: China Foreign MinistryChina has announced unspecified sanctions on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her visit earlier this week to Taiwan. A Chinese Foreign Ministry ... World News
Pelosi says US will ‘not allow’ China to isolate TaiwanUS House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that the United States will “not allow” China to isolate Taiwan, after her visit to the self-ruled island ... World News
China’s Taiwan military drills ‘a significant escalation’: BlinkenUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday condemned China's military drills encircling Taiwan as “a significant escalation”.Blinken said there ... World News