A Mirage 2000 fighter jet prepares to take off at an airbase in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on Saturday. After the visit of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan, the Chinese military started a series of live-fire drills in six maritime areas near the island. Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE/
Aug. 6 (UPI) — Taiwan’s Defense Ministry has said that “multiple” Chinese aircraft and naval vessels were detected in the Taiwan Strait this weekend conducting a possible simulated attack.
“Multiple [Chinese] craft were detected around Taiwan Strait. Some have crossed the median line,” Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said, describing it as a “possible simulated attack” in a statement Friday.
The ministry said Taiwan’s armed forces were using an alert broadcast, aircraft, naval vessels and land-based missile systems in response to the Chinese action.
On Saturday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that another 20 Chinese aircraft and 14 naval vessels conducted an air-sea operation on the surrounding area of Taiwan.
The Taiwan Strait separates mainland China and Taiwan, a self-governing republic claimed by China. The exercise on Friday and Saturday are a sign of escalating tensions between the two entities.
Mainland China and the island of Taiwan, among other islands, were ruled by the Republic of China before the ROC lost the Chinese Civil War in the early 20th century to the Chinese Communist Party, which established the new government of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949.
The ROC in turn established a temporary capital in Taipei on the island of Taiwan, a former Japanese territory, in December 1949 and served as the seat for China at the United Nations until it was replaced by the People’s Republic of China in 1971 as foreign countries switched their diplomatic relations.
China views Taiwan and its 23 million residents as a wayward province and has vowed to retake it by force, if necessary. Many supporters of Taiwan have since argued that it is already an independent sovereign state separate from mainland China, which has never controlled Taiwan.
This week, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan sparking a military response from the Chinese government which has since been conducting daily drills.
Shortly after her plane touched down in Taipei, China announced it would conduct live-fire exercises in six areas encircling Taiwan from Thursday through Sunday.
China launched several ballistic missiles into waters near Taiwan on Thursday, the island’s defense ministry said, as Beijing ramps up military provocations in the wake of Pelosi’s visit.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with Pelosi on Friday and called for China to stop its live-fire military exercises near Taiwan after five missiles landed in the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
At a breakfast meeting with Pelosi and a congressional delegation, Kishida called the exercises a “grave problem” affecting national and regional security and called for the “immediate suspension” of the drills.