Chinese and Taiwanese warships look at each other as the drill is about to end According to Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks with Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu before boarding a plane at Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan August 3, 2022. Taiwan / Handout via REUTERS
By Yimou Lee and David Brunnstrom
TAIPEI (Reuters) – Chinese and Taiwanese warships played cat and mouse at sea on Sunday, hours before the expected end of four days of China’s unprecedented drills. China in response to the US presenter’s visit to Taiwan.
Nancy Pelosi’s visit last week to the self-ruled island angered China, which responded with ballistic missile tests for the first time over the island’s capital and the severing of links contact with the United States.
According to one person familiar with the matter, about 10 warships from China and Taiwan each sailed near the Taiwan Strait, with several Chinese ships crossing the median line, an informal buffer zone separating the two sides. , according to a person familiar with the matter.
As Chinese forces “squeezed” the line, as they did on Saturday, the Taiwanese side stayed behind and, if possible, denied China’s ability to break through.
“Both sides are showing restraint,” the person said, describing the maneuvers as ‘cat and mouse’ in the high seas.
“One side tries to get through, and the other side gets in the way and puts them at a disadvantage and eventually turns to the other side.”
Taiwan said its shore-based anti-ship missiles and Patriot surface-to-air missiles were on standby.
The Chinese drills, centered around six locations around the island, began on Thursday and are expected to last until noon Sunday. China’s military on Saturday said it was conducting joint sea and air exercises north, southwest and east of Taiwan with a focus on testing land and sea strike capabilities.
The US called the exercises an escalation.
“These activities are a significant escalation in China’s efforts to change the status quo. They are provocative, irresponsible, and increase the risk of miscalculation,” a White House spokesman said. .
“They are also at odds with our long-term goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which is what the world expects.”
China has stopped communicating through various channels with the United States as part of its response to Pelosi’s visit, including amid military orders and on climate change.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused China of taking “irresponsible” steps and not prioritizing a peaceful resolution towards the use of force.
Taiwan’s military said on Saturday that Chinese ships and aircraft participating in the drills were conducting a simulated attack on the island that China claims as its territory.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry later said its force had sent jets to warn 20 Chinese planes, 14 of which had crossed the median line. It also detected 14 Chinese ships conducting operations around the Taiwan Strait.
The ministry released a photo showing Taiwanese sailors keeping a close eye on a nearby Chinese vessel.
Taiwan’s forces on Friday fired flares to warn of drones flying over Kinmen Island and unidentified aircraft flying over the country’s Matsu island. Both groups of islands lie close to the coast of China.
“China’s military exercises have unilaterally changed the current situation in the region and seriously damaged the peace in the Taiwan Strait,” the ministry said.
‘DO NOT ACT CLEARLY’
Pelosi, a longtime China critic and political ally of US President Joe Biden, arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday for the highest-level visit to the island by an American official in decades. , despite China’s warnings. She said her visit showed the United States’ unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s democracy.
“The world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy,” she said. She also emphasized that her trip “is not intended to change the status quo in Taiwan or the region”.
Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s communists took power in Beijing after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang nationalists in a civil war. retreat to this island.
China says its relationship with Taiwan is an internal matter and it has the right to bring the island under its control, by force if necessary. Taiwan rejects China’s claim that only the people of Taiwan can decide their future.
Speaking during a visit to the Philippines, Blinken said the United States had heard concerns from its allies about what he called China’s destabilizing and dangerous actions, but Washington had sought to avoid escalating the situation. ladder.
He said that China’s cessation of bilateral dialogue in eight areas is a move that will punish the world.
China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, told a news conference on Friday that Blinken had been spreading “misinformation,” adding: “We want to issue a warning to the United States: Don’t act act rashly, don’t create a bigger crisis.”
China has not mentioned suspending military talks at the highest levels, such as with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. Although those talks are infrequent, officials say they are crucial in the event of an emergency.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said it was last searched that five of the nine missiles fired towards its territory had landed within its exclusive economic zone.