China declared new military exercises around Taiwan
on Aug. 8, putting more pressure on the self-governing island nation and its allies in Washington. Beijing stated that its forces would perform live-fire anti-submarine and sea raid drills starting Monday without giving an exact end date.
It followed four days of live-fire exercises, which saw China launch ballistic missiles over the island for the first time. (Related: China's military begins surrounding Taiwan as it conducts largest live-fire drills in over two decades
The central government in Beijing defended the exercises by saying that they are in response to a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island nation on Aug. 2.
John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the U.S. National Security Council, denounced the war games as an "irresponsible" and "provocative" move intended to weaken peace in the region.
Dozens of Chinese aircraft and ships have passed the meridian line that separates Taiwan from China down the center of the Taiwan Strait as part of the war games.
The Chinese state media called the military exercises a rehearsal for an invasion.
"The eastern theater of the Chinese People's Liberation Army [PLA] continued to carry out practical joint exercises and training in the sea and airspace around Taiwan island," the Chinese military said in a statement.
The drills, the PLA's Eastern Command stated, were "focusing on organizing joint anti-submarine and sea assault operations." China was also scheduled to conduct live-fire drills in parts of the South China Sea and the Yellow Sea.
Taiwan to perform anti-landing exercises
Taipei, meanwhile, denounced Beijing for extending the military exercises.
"China's provocation and aggression have harmed the status quo of the Taiwan Strait and raised tensions in the region," Taiwan's foreign ministry said in a statement.
Taiwan's military stated that it would perform anti-landing exercises on Tuesday, August 9, and Thursday, August 11. "We will practice counter moves against simulated enemy attacks on Taiwan," Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for the Taiwanese Army's Eighth Army Corps, told AFP
in an interview.
The Taiwanese military also announced they will involve the deployment of hundreds of troops and around 40 howitzer guns. Taiwan said no Chinese planes or ships have entered Taiwan's territorial waters or airspace during the exercises.
However, the Chinese military released a video of an air force pilot filming the island's coastline and mountains from his cockpit to display how close it came to Taiwan's shores.
China's Eastern Command also shared a photo of a warship on patrol with Taiwan's shoreline visible in the background. Chinese state media has also reported that ballistic missiles were launched over Taiwan's capital during the drills last week.
The extent and force of China's exercises, including its withdrawal from crucial talks on climate and defense, have sparked anger in the U.S. and other democratic countries.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington is "determined to act responsibly" to prevent a serious worldwide crisis.
Still, China justified its behavior as "firm, forceful and appropriate" to American incitement.
"We are only issuing a warning to the perpetrators. We urge the U.S. to do some earnest reflection and immediately correct its mistakes," China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a press briefing, reassuring that China would "firmly smash the Taiwan authorities' illusion of gaining independence through the United States."
Meanwhile, relations between Washington and Beijing have worsened in the wake of Pelosi's visit to Taiwan – prompting calls from the United Nations for de-escalation of tensions
for more news about China's military exercises near Taiwan.
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