China begins military exercises around Taiwan hours after two suspected drones fly over island’s territory | World News
China has begun another series of military exercises around Taiwan as tensions continue to rise following a 24-hour visit to the island by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Chinese state media reported the drills were underway hours after suspected drones flew over Taiwan territory on Wednesday and hackers targeted China’s website. Department of Defense.
Taiwan said before the drills began on Thursday morning that some of the drills would take place within 12 nautical miles of its sea and air territory.
That has never happened before, and a senior ministry official described the potential move as “the equivalent of a sea and air blockade on Taiwan”.
China’s Xinhua news agency said the drills, including live-fire drills, would take place in six areas surrounding Taiwan from 4am GMT (5am UK time). .
Taiwan said before the latest drills began that it would respond by strengthening its self-defence capabilities and working closely with the United States and like-minded countries.
Taiwan also said its military was closely monitoring the situation in the strait between the island and mainland China.
The ministry added that it would “respond appropriately” to the enemy’s behavior to “defend national sovereignty and security”.
Taiwan has been put on alert while China conducts military exercises in response to a 24-hour visit by Ms. Pelosi, the most senior US politician to visit the island in 25 years.
China considers the island part of its territory and opposes any interference by Taiwanese officials with foreign governments.
On Thursday, Major General Chang Zone-sung, from Taiwan’s military’s Kinmen Defense Command, said a pair of suspected drones flew into the Kinmen Islands area at around 9 a.m. evening and 10pm local time (2pm and 3pm UK time) on Wednesday night.
The fortified islands, administered by Taiwan, lie just off China’s southeast coast near the city of Xiamen.
“We immediately fired flares to warn them and scare them away. Then they turned around. They entered our restricted area and that’s why we dispersed them,” Major General Chang said.
“We have a standard operating procedure. We will react if they come,” he continued.
Major General Chang said he believes the drones are intended to gather intelligence on Taiwan’s security deployments in its remote islands.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said it was working closely with other authorities to strengthen cybersecurity after hackers targeted its website and temporarily put it on hold. offline level.
The cyber attack comes after several Taiwanese government websites, including the presidential office, were targeted earlier this week.
Taiwanese authorities said some of the attacks were carried out by China and Russia.
Taiwan’s cabinet spokesman said that repeated cyber attacks on government websites “have not caused any damage so far”.
Taiwan’s government is now urging the island’s companies to step up their cybersecurity in the coming days as authorities notice a record number of attacks on their websites amid tensions. with China escalating.
Earlier, on Wednesday, Taiwan sent jets to warn 27 Chinese aircraft within its air defense identification zone, the island’s defense ministry said, adding that 22 aircraft Some of them have crossed the boundary between the island and China.
Neither side’s planes passed the median.
It came before China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said it was reasonable and lawful to punish Taiwan independence supporters and outside forces.
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The Beijing-based office added that Taiwan is not a “regional” issue but an internal matter of China.
A suspected Taiwanese separatist has been detained by state security in eastern China’s Zhejiang province on suspicion of endangering national security, Chinese state media reported. on Wednesday.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi concluded her visit to Taiwan on Wednesday pledging that the US commitment to democracy on the self-governing island and elsewhere is “still lacking”.