Taiwan: China begins its military maneuvers and fires projectiles towards the strait

If her trip to this territory claimed by China lasted less than a day, Nancy Pelosi - the highest elected American official to visit Taipei, capital of Taiwan, in 25 years - unleashed the fury of Beijing.

Taiwan: China begins its military maneuvers and fires projectiles towards the strait

If her trip to this territory claimed by China lasted less than a day, Nancy Pelosi - the highest elected American official to visit Taipei, capital of Taiwan, in 25 years - unleashed the fury of Beijing. Who, a few hours after leaving the island, began large-scale military maneuvers. They began this Thursday, August 4 shortly after noon local time, in six areas surrounding Taiwan, at busy trade routes, sometimes only 20 kilometers from the coast. "Exercises are beginning" and will continue until Sunday noon, Chinese state television CCTV said in a social media post.

“During this period, ships and aircraft must not enter the waters and airspaces concerned,” she added. In Pingtan, a Chinese island located near the maneuvers in progress, AFP journalists saw several unidentified projectiles fly into the sky towards the sea, followed by plumes of white smoke. “The Chinese Communist Party fired multiple Dongfeng ballistic missiles into the surrounding waters of northeast and southwest Taiwan starting around 1:56 p.m. (local time), the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense confirmed in a brief statement. . The Taiwanese army says to "prepare for war without seeking war".

According to the Chinese newspaper Global Times, which quotes military analysts, the exercises are on an "unprecedented" scale because missiles will fly over Taiwan for the first time, with "live ammunition and long-range artillery fire". . "If the Taiwanese forces voluntarily come into contact with (the Chinese army) and accidentally fire a shot, (the Chinese army) will retaliate vigorously and it will be up to the Taiwanese side to bear all the consequences." , told AFP an anonymous military source within the Chinese army.

The island's authorities denounced China's actions as "an irrational act aimed at challenging the international order". "Some of China's maneuver areas encroach on...Taiwan's territorial waters," said Sun Li-fang, spokesman for the Taiwanese Defense Ministry. The latter said that the Taiwanese army fired a flare overnight from Wednesday to Thursday to ward off a drone that was flying over Kinmen Island, located just ten kilometers from the Chinese city of Xiamen.

For Beijing, these exercises - as well as others, more limited, started in recent days - are "a necessary and legitimate measure" after Nancy Pelosi's visit. "It is the United States who are the provocateurs, and China who is the victim. China is in self-defense," Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters.

The drills aim to simulate a "blockade" of the island and include "assaulting targets at sea, striking targets on the ground and controlling airspace", according to the official Xinhua news agency. If the hypothesis of an invasion of Taiwan, populated by 23 million inhabitants, remains unlikely, it has increased since the election in 2016 of the current president Tsai Ing-wen. Coming from an independence party, she refuses, unlike the previous government, to recognize that the island and the continent are part of "one China".

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