Taiwan.  China launched military maneuvers and fired projectiles towards the island strait

Taiwan. China launched military maneuvers and fired projectiles towards the island strait

The Chinese army fired unidentified projectiles towards the Taiwan Strait on Thursday August 4, 2022, AFP reporters noted, shortly after the start of major military exercises around the island claimed by Beijing. A strong response to the visit of the leader of the American representatives Nancy Pelosi to the island.

On Pingtan, a Chinese island near the ongoing maneuvers, reporters saw several projectiles fired near military installations shoot into the sky toward the sea, followed by plumes of white smoke. . The AFP did not identify the projectiles, fired from military installations, or determine their exact direction.

The tourists who were on the shore of the sea, on this tourist island, witnessed the shooting.

Smoke trails from projectiles launched by the Chinese military in front of tourists from Pingtan Island, one of the closest points to mainland China from Taiwan, August 4, 2022. | HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP

“Irrational actions that undermine the peace of the region”, criticized Tawain

The Taipei Defense Ministry, for its part, claimed that the Chinese armed forces fired from “many” ballistic missiles Thursday in the waters surrounding Taiwan and condemned “irrational actions that undermine peace in the region”.

“The Ministry of National Defense said the Chinese Communist Party fired several Dongfeng ballistic missiles into the surrounding waters northeast and southwest of Taiwan starting at about 1:56 p.m. (05:56 GMT) », the Ministry of Defense said in a brief statement. Taiwan’s military has not confirmed the exact location where the missiles landed or whether they flew over the island.

The People’s Liberation Army of the Republic of China also confirmed the missile launches: “A multi-regional, multi-pattern conventional missile firepower assault in predetermined waters in the eastern part of the island of Taiwan,” there called Colonel Shi. “All the missiles accurately hit the target, testing the accuracy of the strikes,” he added.

Rising tension

When her trip to the Chinese-claimed territory took less than 24 hours, Ms Pelosi sparked anger in Beijing by becoming the highest-ranking American elected official to visit Taipei in 25 years.

He hammered that the United States will not abandon the island, which is ruled by a democratic regime and lives under the constant threat of invasion by the Chinese army. Pelosi then flew to South Korea and will travel to the North Korean border within hours.

In response, Beijing launched from noon on Thursday (4 am GMT) a series of military maneuvers in six areas around Taiwan, at the level of busy trade routes.

“Exercises begin” and will continue until Sunday at noon (4 am GMT), China’s state television CCTV said in a social media post.

“At this time, the ships and aircraft concerned should not enter the waters and airspaces concerned”.

In Pingtan, a Chinese island located near one of the places where the maneuvers took place, military helicopters flew towards the Taiwan Strait, AFP reporters said.

Did the military in Taiwan say “to prepare for war without seeking war”.

According to the newspaper GlobalTimesciting military analysts, the exercises are huge “never before” because the missiles will fly over Taiwan for the first time.

“This is the first time that the Chinese military has launched live ammunition and long-range artillery fire in the Taiwan Strait”lined the daily, known for its nationalist tone.

“Blockade” on the island

These drills will take place in various areas surrounding Taiwan – sometimes as little as 20 kilometers off Taiwan’s coast – and will last until noon on Sunday.

“If Taiwanese forces voluntarily meet with (the Chinese army) and accidentally open fire, (the Chinese army) will respond forcefully and it will be up to the Taiwanese side to bear all the consequences”an anonymous military source inside the Chinese army told AFP.

Authorities on the island have criticized the program, saying it threatens security in East Asia.

“Some of China’s areas of maneuver are encroaching […] the territorial waters of Taiwan”said Sun Li-fang, the spokesman for the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense, spitting “an unjustified act aimed at challenging the international order”.

The ministry said Taiwan’s military fired flares overnight from Wednesday to Thursday to scare off a drone flying over Kinmen Island, which is just 10 km from the city of Xiamen in mainland China. He did not specify what kind of drone it was or where it came from.

For Beijing, these exercises – as well as others, more limited, started in recent days – are a “necessary and legitimate step” after the visit of Ms. Pelosi.

“The United States is the provocateurs, and China is the victim. China is in self-defense.Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, assured the press.

The exercises aim to simulate a “blockade” of the island and includes “the attack on sea targets, the hitting of land targets and the control of airspace”said the official agency of New China.

If the assumption of an invasion of Taiwan, home to 23 million inhabitants, remains unlikely, it has increased since the election in 2016 of the current president Tsai Ing-wen.

From an independence party, Ms. Tsai refused, unlike the previous government, to recognize that the island and the continent are part “in a china”.

“perfect climb”

Visits by foreign officials and parliamentarians have also increased in recent years, provoking anger in Beijing.

In response, President Xi Jinping’s China, which wants to remain unresolved on sovereignty questions, has sought to isolate Taiwan diplomatically and increased military pressure on the island.

Result: the Taiwan Strait has become the scene of dangerous tensions between the United States, the Taiwanese authorities and the Chinese authorities, who are forced to present an image of intransigence as the Chinese Communist congress approaches. Party (CCP).

Organized in the fall, this congress will see, barring cataclysm, Xi Jinping re-elected head of the organization for a third term.

However, China has no desire for the current situation to deteriorate, experts told AFP.

“An Accidental War” due to an incident “is the last thing Xi Jinping wants” before the CCP congress, said Titus Chen, professor of political science at National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan.

Amanda Hsiao, China analyst at the International Crisis Group think tank, says these exercises “Represents a marked improvement from China’s usual military activity around Taiwan and the last Taiwan Strait crisis in 1995-96”.

and “By doing this, Beijing has shown that it renounces all sovereignty” The Taiwanese authorities on the island, he said.

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