China’s military drills ‘provocative’ and ‘irresponsible’, US says
A White House spokesperson has said China is trying to “change the status quo” through its military drills around Taiwan.
These activities are a significant escalation in China’s efforts to change the status quo. They are provocative, irresponsible, and raise the risk of miscalculation,” the spokesperson said.
They are also at odds with our longstanding goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which is what the world expects.”
China’s defence ministry said it had carried out military exercises as planned in the sea and airspaces to the north, south-west, and east of Taiwan, with a focus on “testing the capabilities” of its land strike and sea assault systems.
Updated at 04.01 BST
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Taiwan accuses China of simulating an attack on island
China’s military has pressed ahead with its largest ever military drills, targeting Taiwan with what the island’s government called a simulated attack, including further incursions over the median line and drone flights over Taiwan’s outlying islands.
On Saturday, Taiwan’s ministry of defence said it had observed People’s Liberation Army (PLA) planes and ships operating in the Taiwan strait, believing them to be simulating an attack on its main island.
“Multiple batches of Chinese communist planes and ships conducting activities around the Taiwan strait, some of which crossed the median line,” it said, referring to the unofficial border in the waters between China and Taiwan.
On Saturday, Taiwan also scrambled jets to warn away 20 Chinese aircraft, including 14 that crossed the Taiwan strait median line, according to Reuters, citing Taiwan’s defence ministry.
20 PLA aircraft (SU-30*10, J-16*4, J-11*4, Y-8 ASW and Y-20 Aerial Refueling) and 14 vessels conducted an air-sea operation on the surrounding area of R.O.C on August 6, 2022. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/Tj6C1y0WHR pic.twitter.com/apjMe6IYMn
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. (@MoNDefense) August 6, 2022
Chinese boats repeatedly ‘press’ into Taiwan buffer zone – reports
About 10 Chinese and Taiwanese navy boats continued to stay close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait on Sunday morning, a source briefed on the matter has told Reuters.
The source added Chinese boats repeatedly “pressed” into the unofficial buffer, while Taiwan’s navy stayed close-by to monitor the movements.
Both sides have shown restraint so far, the source familiar with the security planning in the region said, since similar navy manoeuvring on Monday near the median line separating China and Taiwan.
Summary and welcome
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of tensions between China and Taiwan.
I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments.
It is approaching 10am in Beijing. Here is everything you might have missed:
- Taiwan’s defence ministry accused Chinese aircraft and ships of carrying out a simulated attack on its main island on Saturday. Several batches of Chinese aircraft and ships were detected in the Taiwan Strait, 14 of which crossed the median line – an unofficial buffer separating the two sides – according to the ministry. Taiwan’s army used patrolling naval ships and put shore-based missiles on standby in response.
- The White House has condemned the escalation in military drills. “These activities are a significant escalation in China’s efforts to change the status quo. They are provocative, irresponsible, and raise the risk of miscalculation,” a spokesperson said.
- China has accused the US of interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said the US should have stopped Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week.
- The Chinese embassy warned Australia against involvement in its actions over Taiwan, saying “finger-pointing” against Beijing was unacceptable. Australia’s foreign minister, Penny Wong, earlier condemned Beijing’s “disproportionate and destabilising” actions, saying she had expressed her concern to her Chinese counterpart at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia.
- Taiwan’s defence ministry said its naval forces were keeping tabs on China’s military vessels off the eastern coast.
- China’s People’s Liberation Army’s eastern theatre command said it continued on Saturday to conduct sea and air joint exercises north, south-west and east of Taiwan, as planned. It said its focus was on testing land strike and sea assault capabilities.
- The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said China should not hold “hostage” important global matters such as the climate crisis, after Beijing cut off contacts with Washington in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
- Speaking at a rally in Wisconsin, the former US president, Donald Trump, questioned why Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. “What was she doing in Taiwan? She was China’s dream, she gave them an excuse. They’ve been looking for that excuse.”
- A Taiwan official who was in charge of various missile production projects was found dead on Saturday morning in a hotel room in southern Taiwan, according to the official Central News Agency. Ou Yang Li-hsing, the deputy head of the military-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, was 57. The cause of his death was unknown, CNA reported.
- The US, Australian and Japanese foreign ministers have urged China to immediately cease military exercises around Taiwan. In a joint statement, officials expressed their concern about China’s recent actions “that gravely affect international peace and stability, including the use of large-scale military exercises”. They also condemned China’s launch of ballistic missiles, five of which the Japanese government reported landed in its exclusive economic zones “raising tension and destabilising the region”.
- Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, said Chinese military drills near Taiwan were a threat to regional security and a “serious problem that impacts our national security and the safety of our citizens”.
- North Korea denounced Nancy Pelosi as “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability”, after the US House speaker expressed her commitment during a visit to South Korea to achieving the North’s denuclearisation. It also condemned her trip to Taiwan.
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