AAccording to state media, in response to the visit of US top politician Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, China has begun the announced military maneuvers around the island. The People’s Liberation Army has launched air and sea exercises in the area, Chinese state television reported on Thursday. The maneuvers should therefore last until Sunday noon local time (06:00 a.m. CEST). Target practice is also planned.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the military will continue to raise its alert to safeguard national security and sovereignty and respond appropriately to the “enemy situation.” The situation in the Taiwan Straits and near Taiwan’s offshore islands is being closely monitored The island nation’s armed forces would act on the principle of “preparing for war without wanting war”. There is also no “escalation of the conflict” sought.
According to state media, the ongoing Chinese exercises around Taiwan are aimed at a naval and air blockade of the democratic island republic. A possible conquest of Taiwan is also being practiced. The maneuvers will take place in six sea areas around Taiwan. For the first time, the restricted areas also extend to Taiwan’s sovereign waters, which Beijing does not recognize anyway. In the state media, Chinese military experts did not rule out that rockets could also be fired directly over Taiwan from west to east for the first time.
Flares used against missiles
According to the Defense Ministry, Taiwan used flares to drive off unidentified Chinese missiles over the Kinmen Islands on Wednesday evening. Two Chinese aircraft, likely drones, entered the area twice, around 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. local time, Maj. Gen. Chang Zone-sung of the Kinmen Defense Command told Reuters on Thursday.
“We immediately set off flares to warn and drive them away. After that they turned back. They came into our security zone, so we expelled them.” He assumes that the drones were used to gather information about Taiwan’s security measures. The heavily fortified Kinmen Islands are politically part of Taiwan, but lie just off China’s southeastern coast near the city of Xiamen.