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Taiwan says multiple Chinese aircraft and ships have been spotted in a possible simulated attack

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The ministry said some of the planes and ships had crossed the sensitive median line in the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from mainland China.

“Our military has broadcast warnings, deployed air combat patrols and naval ships, and activated land-based missile systems in response to the situation,” the ministry said.

The statement did not specify exactly how many Chinese aircraft and ships were detected.

The Chinese military has not yet released a statement on the purpose of Saturday’s drills.

The news follows a series of military exercises China has conducted around Taiwan since Thursday following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to the self-governing democratic island earlier this week.
The Chinese Communist Party views Taiwan as its territory, despite never having controlled it, and has long vowed to “reunify” the island with Chinese territory — by force if necessary.
China sends warships and aircraft close to Taiwan and raises the alarm in Japan as tensions rise

Pelosi ignored her furious opposition to her visit by landing in Taipei on Tuesday night as part of a larger tour of Asia that ended Friday with a final stop in Japan.

But the full ramifications of her visit are only now emerging, with China ramping up military exercises in the skies and waters around Taiwan and cutting off cooperation with the US on various issues.

On Friday, 68 Chinese warplanes were reported in the Taiwan Strait, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense. Of those, 49 entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone — an airspace buffer commonly referred to as the ADIZ. This was just a few aircraft short of the record set last year when 56 Chinese fighter jets entered the ADIZ on the same day.

Nineteen of the warplanes on Friday also crossed the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said.

On Thursday, China launched 11 ballistic missiles — some of which flew over the island of Taiwan and landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, prompting Tokyo to file a formal complaint with Beijing. This was the first time that China sent missiles over the island.

Also on Thursday, two Chinese drones flew near Japan’s Okinawa prefecture, prompting Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force to shoot down fighter jets in response.

The drills are scheduled to last until Sunday local time in Beijing, according to Chinese state media.

Diplomatic consequences

The worsening situation in the Taiwan Strait has sparked a diplomatic firestorm, with China lashing out at countries that have criticized its drills and some regional powers calling for de-escalation.

Tensions rose at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers’ meeting in Cambodia this week, where members had initially expected to discuss three main topics: the Myanmar crisis, the South China Sea and the war in Ukraine.

But Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan added “a fourth hot stone … that has led to heated discussions about close relations,” Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said at a news conference Saturday in Phnom Penh.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken both attended the ASEAN meeting; On Thursday, Wang criticized Pelosi’s visit as demonstrating the “bankruptcy” of US policy and credibility, calling it “maniac, irresponsible and highly irrational behavior”.

A day later, after Beijing fired its missiles over Taiwan, Blinken said China had “chosen to react and use Speaker Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait.”

On Saturday, Sokhonn described the meeting as lively, saying he had to call all ministers to speak in a calm, dignified, polite, civilized and diplomatic manner.

“There have been strong arguments, but in our opinion it is much better to exchange words than less friendly means,” he said.

Japan and other G7 economies have urged China to halt its military exercises and maintain the status quo in the region.

Beijing has not listened to these calls. Instead, it has responded by canceling upcoming phone calls between Chinese and US defense leaders and annual naval meetings between the two countries. It has also canceled scheduled meetings between Chinese and Japanese officials.

China has also summoned the ambassadors of the US, Japan and various European countries.

On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry announced a series of countermeasures against the US, including sanctions against Pelosi and her immediate family.

Military drills send China's relentless message to the Taiwan Strait

China also suspended bilateral climate talks and cut cooperation on issues including the repatriation of illegal immigrants and the investigation of transnational crimes and drug operations.

“We must not hold cooperation on issues of global concern hostage because of differences between our two countries,” Blinken told reporters Saturday, speaking in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

China’s decision to suspend climate talks “could have lasting consequences for the future of the region, the future of our planet” and would punish the developing world rather than the US, he added.

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