Taiwan said Saturday that China’s military drills appear to simulate an attack on the self-ruled island, after multiple Chinese warships and aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei that infuriated Beijing.
Taiwan’s armed forces issued an alert, dispatched air and naval patrols around the island, and activated land-based missile systems in response to the Chinese exercises, the Ministry of National Defense said. As of 5 p.m., 20 Chinese aircraft and 14 ships continued to carry out sea and air exercises around the Taiwan Strait, it said.
The ministry said that zones declared by China as no-go areas during the exercises for other ships and aircraft had “seriously damaged the peace.” It emphasized that Taiwan’s military does not seek war, but would prepare and respond for it accordingly.
China’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement Saturday that it had carried out military exercises as planned in the sea and airspaces to the north, southwest, and east of Taiwan, with a focus on “testing the capabilities” of its land strike and sea assault systems.
China launched live-fire military drills following Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan earlier this week, saying it violated the “one-China” policy. China sees the island as a breakaway province to be annexed by force if necessary, and considers visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as recognizing its sovereignty.
Taiwan’s army also said it detected four unmanned aerial vehicles flying in the vicinity of the offshore county of Kinmen on Friday night and fired warning flares in response.
The four drones, which Taiwan believed were Chinese, were spotted over waters around the Kinmen island group and the nearby Lieyu Island and Beiding islet, according to Taiwan’s Kinmen Defense Command.
Kinmen, also known as Quemoy, is a group of islands only 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) east of the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province in the Taiwan Strait, which divides the two sides that split amid civil war in 1949.
“Our government & military are closely monitoring China’s military exercises & information warfare operations, ready to respond as necessary,” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet.
“I call on the international community to support democratic Taiwan & halt any escalation of the regional security situation,” she added.
The Chinese military exercises began Thursday and are…