China announces fresh military drills around Taiwan

TAIPEI, Aug 8 (Reuters) – China’s military announced fresh military drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan on Monday – a day after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last week was a planned end to its largest-ever exercise.

China’s Eastern Theater Command said it would hold joint drills focusing on anti-submarine and maritime attack operations – confirming fears among some security analysts and diplomats that Beijing would keep up the pressure on Taiwan’s defenses.

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week angered China, which claims the self-ruled island as its own, and responded to the first-ever ballistic missile test launch over Taipei, severing some lines of communication with Washington.

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The duration and exact location of the latest drills are not yet known, but Taiwan has already eased flight restrictions near six former Chinese exercise areas around the island.

Before the latest drills were announced, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and told him she was encouraged by his determination to visit despite Chinese military pressure. Read on

“Prime Minister Gonsalves has expressed in recent days that Chinese military exercises will not prevent him from visiting friends in Taiwan. These statements have touched us deeply,” Tsai said at Gonsalves’ reception in Taipei.

It was unclear whether Tsai invited Gonsalves before or after Pelosi’s visit. “We do not disclose internal planning or communications between governments,” Taiwan’s foreign ministry said when asked by Reuters.

Beyond the firing of 11 short-range ballistic missiles in the four days preceding the drills, Chinese warships, fighter jets and drones conducted extensive maneuvers around the island.

Shortly before the drills ended on Sunday, 10 warships each from China and Taiwan maneuvered in close proximity to the unofficial center line of the Taiwan Strait, according to a person familiar with the situation involved in security planning.

Military talks are over

Taiwan’s defense ministry said Chinese military ships, aircraft and drones had carried out simulated attacks on the island and its navy. He said he had sent aircraft and ships to respond “appropriately”.

Meanwhile, China’s Ministry of Defense maintained its diplomatic pressure on the United States and hosted military-to-military talks in protest of Pelosi’s visit.

“The current tense situation in the Taiwan Strait is entirely provoked and created by the US on its own initiative, and the US side will bear full responsibility and bear serious consequences,” Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in an online post. An online post said.

“The bottom line cannot be broken, and communication requires honesty,” Wu said.

China on Friday canceled formal talks involving theater-level command, defense policy coordination and military-to-maritime consultations as Pelosi left the region.

Pentagon, State Department and White House officials condemned the move, describing it as an irresponsible over-reaction.

China’s severing of some communications links with the US military raises the risk of an accidental escalation on Taiwan at a critical moment, according to security analysts and diplomats. Read on

A U.S. official noted that Chinese officials did not respond to calls from senior Pentagon officials amid tensions last week, but did not appear to be cutting ties with senior figures such as U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

When asked directly about those reports, Defense Ministry spokesman Wu said, “China’s respective counter-measures are a necessary warning to the provocations of the United States and Taiwan and the legitimate protection of national sovereignty and security”.

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Reporting by Beijing Newsroom and Sarah Wu in Taipei; Writing by Greg Torode. Editing by Gerry Doyle and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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