China begins military drills in East China Sea, conducts live fire exercises

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China began military exercises in the East China Sea to the north of Taiwan on Tuesday, including live-fire exercises from warships, as the US and its allies conduct their drills in the Western Pacific.

China routinely conducts exercises along its coast, though the ones near Chinese-claimed Taiwan often attract the most attention.

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China’s Maritime Safety Administration issued a no sail zone warning from late morning to mid-afternoon on Tuesday for an area off Taizhou city in Zhejiang province for live fire exercises from warships.

Other drills around the same location will last until late Tuesday evening, it said.

The drills are near the Dachen islands, which Taiwan controlled until 1955 until being evacuated after other nearby islands were seized by Chinese forces in a bloody battle.

Taiwan still controls the Matsu and Kinmen islands, off the coast of China’s Fujian province, held since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taipei after losing a civil war with Mao Zedong’s communists.

China will hold separate exercises in another northern part of the East China Sea until late Wednesday afternoon, the maritime safety agency said.

China’s East China Sea exercises coincide with a quadrilateral naval exercise in the Philippine Sea that started on Friday involving the United States, Japan, Canada and France.

That includes two carrier strike groups led by US aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan jointly operating for the first time since June 2020, the US 7th Fleet said in a statement.

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