Taiwan said Saturday that China’s military drills appear to be simulating an attack on the self-governing island after several Chinese warships and planes crossed the Taiwan Strait median line after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, infuriating Beijing .
Taiwan’s armed forces sounded the alarm, deployed air and sea patrols around the island and activated land-based missile systems in response to the Chinese drills, the defense ministry said. As of 5 p.m., 20 Chinese planes and 14 ships continued to conduct sea and air drills around the Taiwan Strait, sources said.
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The ministry said zones declared off-limits to other ships and planes by China during drills had “seriously damaged the peace.” It stressed that Taiwan’s military does not seek war, but will prepare and respond accordingly.
China’s defense ministry said in a statement on Saturday that it had conducted military exercises in sea and airspace north, southwest and east of Taiwan as planned, with a focus on “testing the capabilities” of its land and sea attack systems.
China launched live-fire military drills after Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan earlier this week, saying it violated the “one China” policy. China regards the island as a breakaway province that can be annexed by force if necessary, and views visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as a recognition of its sovereignty.
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The Taiwanese army also said it spotted four UAVs near offshore Kinmen County Friday night and fired warning flares in response.
The four drones, which Taiwan believed to be Chinese, were spotted over waters around the Kinmen archipelago and nearby Lieyu Island and Beiding, according to Taiwan’s Kinmen Defense Command.
Kinmen, also known as Quemoy, is a group of islands just 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) east of the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province in the Taiwan Strait separating the two sides that split in the 1949 civil war.
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“Our government and military are closely monitoring China’s military exercises and information warfare operations and stand ready to respond if necessary,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet.
“I call on the international community to support democratic Taiwan and stop any escalation in the regional security situation,” she added.
Chinese military exercises began on Thursday and are expected to continue until Sunday. So far, the drills have included missile strikes on targets in the seas north and south of the island, modeled on the last major Chinese military drills in 1995-1996 aimed at intimidating Taiwan’s leaders and voters.
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Taiwan has put its military on alert and conducted civil defense drills, while the US has deployed numerous naval units in the region.
The Biden administration and Pelosi have said the US remains committed to a “one China” policy that recognizes Beijing as the government of China but allows for informal and defense ties with Taipei. The administration discouraged Pelosi but did not prevent him from attending.
China has also ditched defense and climate talks with the US and imposed sanctions on Pelosi in retaliation for the visit.
Pelosi said Friday in Tokyo, the final stop of her Asia tour, that China cannot isolate Taiwan by preventing US officials from traveling there.
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Pelosi has long been an advocate for human rights in China. Along with other lawmakers, she visited Tiananmen Square in Beijing to support democracy in 1991, two years after a bloody military crackdown on protesters in the square.
Meanwhile, cyberattacks aimed at taking down the website of Taiwan’s foreign ministry doubled Thursday through Friday compared to similar attacks before Pelosi’s visit, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency. The ministry did not provide information on the origin of the attack.
According to the report, other ministries and government agencies such as the Interior Ministry have also faced similar attacks on their websites.
A distributed denial of service attack aims to overload a website with requests for information that will eventually crash it and make it inaccessible to other users.
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Also on Saturday, the Central News Agency reported that Deputy Chief of Research and Development at the Taiwan Ministry of Defense Ou Yang Li-hsing was found dead in his hotel room after suffering a heart attack. He was 57 years old and had overseen several rocket production projects.
According to the report, his hotel room in southern Pingtung District, where he was on a business trip, showed no signs of intrusion.
Taiwanese overwhelmingly support maintaining the status quo of the island’s de facto independence and reject China’s demand for the island to be unified with the mainland under communist control.
Most countries around the world are committed to the “One China” policy, which is a prerequisite for maintaining diplomatic relations with Beijing.
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Any company that doesn’t recognize Taiwan as part of China often faces quick backlash, often with promises from Chinese consumers to boycott its products.
On Friday, Mars Wrigley, the maker of the Snickers candy bar, issued an apology after releasing a video and materials featuring South Korean boy band BTS that referred to Taiwan as a country, drawing criticism from Chinese users.
In a statement on its Weibo account, the company expressed “deep apologies.”
“Mars Wrigley respects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and conducts its business in strict compliance with local Chinese laws and regulations,” the statement said.
In a separate post, the company added that there was “only one China” and said that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory.”
© 2022 The Associated Press
https://globalnews.ca/news/9041889/taiwan-china-military-drills-stimulate-attack/ Taiwan says China’s military drills appear to simulate attack on self-governing island – National