China fires missiles near waters off Taiwan as live-fire exercises intensify

The Chinese Army’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement that multiple missiles were fired into the sea off the eastern part of Taiwan. She added that all the missiles hit the target accurately.

“The live-fire training mission has been successfully completed and the relevant air and sea area has now been lifted,” China’s statement said. Earlier, the Eastern Theater Command said it had conducted long-range live-fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait, state broadcaster CCTV reported, as part of military exercises planned across the island.

Taiwan reported that Chinese long-range missiles landed near the islands of Matsu, Wuqu and Dongyin, which are located in the Taiwan Strait, but are located closer to the mainland than the main island of Taiwan. It later said that a total of 11 Dongfeng (DF) missiles were fired into the waters north, south and east of the island between 1:56 p.m. and 4 p.m. local time (from 1:56 a.m. to 4 a.m. ET) on Thursday.

Chinese state media said exercises to simulate an air and sea “siege” around Taiwan began on Wednesday, but they did not provide strong evidence to support the claim. Later Thursday, images showed military helicopters flying over Pingtan Island, one of Taiwan’s closest points to mainland China.

The military posture was a deliberate show of force after Pelosi left the island on Wednesday night for South Korea, one of the last stops on an Asian tour that ends in Japan this weekend.

Within hours of leaving Taipei on Wednesday, the island’s defense ministry said China had sent more than 20 fighter jets across the midline in the Taiwan Strait, the halfway point between the mainland and Taiwan that Beijing says it does not recognize but usually respects.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Thursday that its military was still in a “normal” but cautioned situation, calling the live-fire exercises an “irrational act” trying to “change the status quo.”

“We are closely monitoring the enemy’s activities around the Taiwan Sea and outlying islands, and we will act appropriately,” the ministry said in a statement.

Taiwan also accused China of “following North Korea’s example of arbitrary missile launches in waters near other countries” in a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

The exercises disrupted flight schedules and ships, with some international flights canceled and ships urged to use alternative routes to many ports around the island.

And they worked to escalate tensions outside Taiwan’s waters. Japanese Defense Minister Nobu Kiichi said Thursday that he believed five missiles had landed within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

“This is a serious problem related to the security of Japan and the safety of its citizens. We strongly condemn it,” Kishi told reporters at a news conference.

Kishi said this is the first time that Chinese ballistic missiles have landed inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, and a protest has been lodged with Beijing.

Push-ups

Long before Pelosi’s nearly 24-hour visit to Taiwan, China warned that her presence was not welcome. The ruling Chinese Communist Party claims the autonomous island as its own territory, although it has never controlled it.

China has released a map showing six regions around Taiwan that will be the site of the exercises in the coming days. The Taiwan Navy and Ports Office said earlier on Thursday that China had added a seventh military training zone, but later retracted that statement, saying the earlier notice was wrong.

On Thursday, Chinese state media identified a wide range of targets for the exercises, including strikes on land and sea targets.

“The exercises (focus) on key training courses including joint siege, attacking naval targets, striking land targets, and airspace control operation, and the forces’ combined combat capabilities have been tested in military operations,” a statement from the State Department said. The Xinhua News Agency attributed it to the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, which is responsible for areas near Taiwan.

Chinese military helicopters fly over Pingtan Island in Fujian Province on August 4th.

Meanwhile, the Global Times said the exercises included some of China’s newest and most advanced weapons, including J-20 stealth fighters and DF-17 hypersonic missiles, and that some of the missiles could be launched over the island – a move It will be very provocative.

“The exercise is unprecedented as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conventional missiles are expected to fly over the island of Taiwan for the first time,” the Global Times said, citing experts.

“The People’s Liberation Army forces will enter areas within 12 nautical miles of the island and the so-called middle line will disappear.”

Does Taiwan have its own airspace?  China holds military exercises near the island after Pelosi's visit

Accounts from Taiwan of Chinese military movement included combat aircraft that crossed the center line and a report from the Taiwan government-run Central News Agency, citing government sources, that two of China’s most powerful warships – a Type 55 destroyer – were seen on Tuesday off the central coast. and southeast of the island, the closest is 37 miles (60 kilometers) from land.

But there has been little evidence or conclusive evidence that China has provided to support the kind of allegations published in the Global Times.

State-run Chinese TV showed a video of fighter planes taking off, ships at sea and missiles in motion, but the dates this video was shot cannot be verified.

Some analysts were skeptical of Beijing’s ability to carry out what they were threatening, such as the blockade of Taiwan.

“The official announcement (of the blockade) only refers to a few days, which makes it difficult to qualify it in practice for a blockade,” said Alessio Batalano, professor of war and strategy at King’s College London.

“The siege is difficult and long to implement. This exercise is not like that,” he said.

The biggest impact of the training will be psychological, Batalano said.

“During the time period in question, ships and aircraft are likely to be rerouted to avoid the area, but this is one of the primary goals of the selected sites: to create turmoil, uneasiness, and fear of the worst in the future,” he said.

Chinese military helicopters fly over Pingtan Island, one of the closest points in mainland China to Taiwan on August 4, 2022.

Redirect aircraft and ships

Chinese retaliatory exercises have already disrupted flight schedules and ships in Taiwan, though the island is trying to minimize their impact.

Taiwan’s transport minister said the agreements were so It was accessed with Japan and the Philippines to reroute 18 international routes for flights departing from the island – affecting about 300 flights in total – to avoid the People’s Liberation Army’s live-fire exercises.

Korean Air told CNN Thursday that it has canceled its Incheon-Taiwan flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday due to safety reasons while China conducts its military exercises. Flights will resume on Sunday.

On Wednesday, Taiwan’s Maritime and Ports Bureau issued three notices, asking ships to use alternate routes to seven ports across the island.

The planned live-fire exercises in China also caused concern in Japan.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, said the exercises posed a threat to his country’s security.

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It was one of the six exercise areas that China set up near the Japanese island of Yonaguni, which is part of Okinawa Prefecture and only 68 miles (110 kilometers) off the coast of Taiwan.

The Chinese exercise area itself is also close to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited rocky chain known as the Diaoyu in China, over which Beijing claims sovereignty.

“In particular, a training zone has been set up in the waters near Japan, and if China conducts live-fire exercises in such an area, it may affect the security of Japan and its people,” Matsuno said.

On the other hand, the US military remained silent about the Chinese exercises and did not provide any answers to CNN’s questions on Thursday.

Pelosi met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei on August 3.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said he hoped “Beijing will not create a crisis or seek to pretend to increase its aggressive military action.” Speaking at the Ministerial Meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States in Cambodia, Blinken said the United States remains committed to the “one China” policy.

Besides closely monitoring Chinese military movements around the island, Taiwan also said it would beef up security against cyber attacks and disinformation campaigns.

Taiwan Cabinet spokesman Lu Bingcheng said at a press conference on Wednesday that the government has strengthened security at key infrastructure points and increased the level of cybersecurity vigilance across government offices.

Lu said Taiwan expects an increase in the “knowledge war,” a reference to disinformation campaigns used to sway public opinion.


This story has been updated with new information
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CNN’s Rob Pechita, Wen Chang, Amy Jozoka, and Eric Cheung contributed to this report.

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