China continued its large-scale maneuvers around Taiwan on Sunday morning. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen condemned the drills as an “irresponsible threat” not only in the Taiwan Strait Straits but also to the region as a whole. As Taiwan’s military reported, 20 Chinese military aircraft and 14 warships took part in the exercises the previous day alone. Chinese drones have also been observed again over the offshore Taiwanese island of Kinmen, which is only ten kilometers from the port city of Xiamen on the Chinese coast. According to experts, there had been no overflight of the island, also known as Quemoy, since the 1950s.
In the Taiwan Straits, Chinese and Taiwanese warships played cat-and-mouse games on the high seas. Some of the Chinese ships reportedly crossed the unofficial border line, a person familiar with the matter said. Taiwan then tried to prevent them from doing so. However, both sides showed restraint.
Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said Sunday China has arrogantly carried out military actions to disrupt regional peace and stability. He urged China not to flex its military muscles. He also said foreign enemies are trying to undermine the morale of the Taiwanese people with cyber attacks and disinformation campaigns.
The Chinese leadership in Beijing launched the maneuvers in response to the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei this week. The exercises are scheduled to end this Sunday. It is China’s largest show of military power against Taiwan since missile exercises in the mid-1990s, when the United States deployed two aircraft carriers to the Taiwan region.
Pelosi’s visit to the island’s democratic republic was the highest-ranking visit from the United States in a quarter of a century. China is angry because it claims Taiwan as its own. It sees the island as part of the People’s Republic, threatens to conquer it and vehemently rejects official contacts with other countries. But the Taiwanese have long seen themselves as independent.
Taiwan’s president wrote on Facebook that the country’s frontline forces continue to protect national security while the diplomatic team briefs the international community on Taiwan’s determination to defend its sovereignty, democracy and freedom.