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China Extends Military Drills Around Taiwan

China Extends Military Drills Around Taiwan

Wednesday, 10 August, 2022 - 06:15
A China coast guard vessel. Reuters

Chinese navy ships remained active off both Taiwan's east and west coasts on Wednesday morning, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters, as Beijing kept up military drills in protest against last week's visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

A furious China has extended its largest-ever exercises around the self-ruled island it claims as its own beyond the originally scheduled four days. The drills last week have included ballistic missile launches, some of which flew over the island's capital Taipei, and simulated sea and air attacks in the skies and seas surrounding Taiwan.

Video released by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV on Wednesday showed Chinese fighter jets scrambling and refueling while airborne, as well as navy ships on what it said were drills around Taiwan.

The Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army said the drills were focused on blockades and resupply logistics, "under a complex electromagnetic environment to refine joint containment and control capabilities", according to CCTV.

About 20 Chinese navy and Taiwan navy ships remained close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial buffer separating the two sides, as of Wednesday morning, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters.

Several other Chinese ships continued to conduct missions off Taiwan's eastern coast, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Taiwan's foreign minister said on Tuesday that China was using the military drills as a game-plan to prepare for an invasion of the self-ruled island.

"It is conducting large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyberattacks, disinformation, and economic coercion, in an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan," Joseph Wu said on Tuesday, without providing evidence or offering a timetable.

"After the drills conclude, China may try to routinize its action in an attempt to wreck the long-term status quo across the Taiwan Strait."

Pelosi, a long-time China critic and a political ally of President Joe Biden, visited Taiwan last week on the highest-level visit to the island by an American official in decades, despite Chinese warnings. She said her visit showed unwavering US commitment to supporting Taiwan's democracy.

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