The Chinese used live-fire military drills in the areas surrounding Taiwan to protest the visit to the island nation by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The Wall Street Journal reports:
The Chinese military launched live-fire drills around Taiwan, coming unusually close to the self-governing island and causing delays for ships and air traffic to protest a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Beijing says violated its sovereignty.
“The exercises have begun,” China’s navy said on its official social-media account shortly after noon local time Thursday.
The four-day exercises—which included firing nearly a dozen missiles—are taking place in six zones delineated by the Chinese military. Several face the island’s biggest commercial ports and overlap with what Taiwan claims as its territorial waters.
The zones effectively encircle Taiwan in what amounts to a temporary blockade as some ship and air traffic is warned away.
The targets are the closest ever to Taiwan’s main island, Major Gen. Meng Xiangqing, a professor at the People’s Liberation Army National Defense University, told China’s state broadcaster Thursday morning ahead of the drills. Some of the designated live-fire zones reach into waters within 12 miles of the Taiwanese coastline.
“This establishes an encirclement of Taiwan island,” Gen. Meng said. “This creates very good conditions for reshaping the strategic situation in a way that benefits unification.”
Thursday afternoon, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said China had fired multiple Dongfeng ballistic missiles at 1:56 p.m. into northeastern and southwestern waters claimed by the island.
Units from the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command “conducted live-fire training with long-range firepower in the Taiwan Strait” at around 1 p.m. local time, the command said Thursday on its social-media account. The firing was directed toward designated areas in the eastern stretches of the Taiwan Strait close to Taiwan’s main island and achieved “anticipated effects,” it said.
Later in the afternoon, the command said it had launched conventional missiles in a designated zone east of the island, “successfully completing” a live-fire operation. The area is again open to traffic, it said.
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