China has kicked off its latest round of war drills Thursday aimed at encircling and pressuring Taiwan in the wake of this week’s House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visit to the self-ruled island, the day after she departed and continued on her Asia tour to South Korea.
According to China’s People’s Daily, this has included PLA command dispatching “hundreds” of fighter jets to enter airspace off the northern, southwestern and southeastern airspaces of the island, at a moment Taiwan’s defense forces are on a heightened state of alert. On Wednesday some half a dozen jets were reported as having breached the ‘median line’ separating the Taiwan Strait. Beijing is promising in essence this is only the beginning.
WATCH: More than a hundred PLA warplanes including fighter jets and bombers conducted joint reconnaissance, air assault and support missions, and more than 10 destroyers and frigates conducted a joint blockade, alert patrol and reconnaissance, around Taiwan island on Thu. pic.twitter.com/xa0YU4K5U5
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) August 4, 2022
And more alarming, China launched a series of ballistic missiles into waters off Taiwan, with some having flown over the island. “Taiwan has confirmed that mainland China launched 11 Dongfeng series missiles into waters north, south and east of the island on Thursday afternoon, a day after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taipei,” South China Morning Post reports.
“The island’s defence ministry said the 11 DF series missiles were fired between 1.56pm and 4pm. It is the first time mainland missiles have flown over the island.”
Taipei’s defense ministry immediately condemned the severe provocation: “The defence ministry condemned the irrational actions to undermine regional peace,” a statement said. Taiwan further called on Beijing to be “self-restrained”.
Taiwanese media outlets are reporting of the unprecedented missile flyover of the island:
People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command Spokesman Shi Yi that afternoon announced that the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command Rocket Force launched a “multi-regional and multi-model exercise” in the waters off the coast of eastern Taiwan, according to China’s state-run TV broadcaster CCTV. Shi claimed that the guided missiles all “hit their targets accurately.”
Already there has been a ‘close call’ incident between the two militaries:
Earlier, it [Taiwan’s military] revealed suspected Chinese drones had flown above the Kinmen Islands, Taiwanese territory off China’s southeastern coast, and it had fired flares to drive them away.
Major General Chang Zone-sung of the military’s Kinmen Defense Command told the Reuters news agency that the Chinese drones came in a pair and flew into the Kinmen area twice on Wednesday night, at about 9pm (13:00 GMT) and 10pm (14:00 GMT).
Warning flared were then fired: “We immediately fired flares to issue warnings and to drive them away. After that, they turned around. They came into our restricted area and that’s why we dispersed them,” the Taiwanese general said.
While China had quickly started snap drills as Pelosi’s Air Force plane – reportedly with US fighter jet escort – landed in Taipei earlier this week, Thursday marks the start of more expansive live-fire drills around the whole island, slated to last five days.
The next five days will include live-fire drills and missile tests surrounding the island in these reported locations, as detailed in Chinese state media publications…
Meanwhile, China is furious over a prior day Group of Seven (G7) statement condemning its military drills. The G7 warned Beijing not to use Pelosi’s visit as “pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait”.
In protest, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has within the last hours canceled what was to be a face-to-face summit with his Japanese counterpart. At the same time increased cyberattacks are being reported against Taiwan government websites in local media.