Updated: 6 days ago
China on Thursday kicked off its largest-ever military exercises encircling Taiwan, a day visit to the self-ruled island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a move that infuriated Beijing.
Pelosi left Taiwan Wednesday after a less than 24-hour visit that defied a series of increasingly stark threats from Beijing, which views the island as its territory.
US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s, second in line to the presidency, was the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. She declared her presence made it “unequivocally clear" that the United States would “not abandon" a democratic ally like Taiwan.
The Chinese military began the military drill on Thursday with live-fire exercises in the sea surrounding Taiwan at noon (0400 GMT) on Thursday, state broadcaster CCTV said.
“Do you have a design in mind for your blog? Whether you
“From 12:00 pm today to 12:00 pm on (August) 7, an important military exercise of the People’s Liberation Army is taking place," CCTV said, in a social media post that included a map of Taiwan.
Chinese forces in two areas off the northern coast of Taiwan could potentially seal off Keelung, a major port, while strikes could be launched from an area east of Taiwan targeting the military bases in Hualien and Taidong, said Meng Xiangqing, a professor at the National Defence University.
MISSILES TO FLY OVER TAIWAN FOR THE FIRST TIME
Pelosi’s trip triggered a furious reaction from Beijing, which vowed “punishment" for those that had offended it and announced military drills in the seas around Taiwan — some of the world’s busiest waterways.
The military exercises encircling Taiwan will involve “training activities including live-fire drills", an announcement in state media had said.
They will take place in multiple zones encircling Taiwan — at some points within just 20 kilometres (12 miles) of the island’s shore — and will conclude at midday on Sunday.
Nationalist state-run tabloid the Global Times reported, citing military analysts, that the exercises were “unprecedented" and that missiles would fly over Taiwan for the first time.
This is the first time the PLA will launch live long-range artillery across the Taiwan Straits," the newspaper said, referring to China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army.
Drills taking place since last Tuesday have set the stage for the exercises, with Beijing’s Xinhua news agency reporting they had simulated a “joint blockade" of Taiwan.
TAIWAN MILITARY SAYS ‘PREPARING FOR WAR’
Taiwan’s military said on Thursday its forces were closely monitoring Chinese military exercises, adding that it was prepared for conflict, but would not seek it.
“The Ministry of National Defence stresses that it will uphold the principle of preparing for war without seeking war, and with an attitude of not escalating conflict and causing disputes," Taipei’s defence ministry said in a statement.