Chinese and Taiwanese warships play ‘cat and mouse’ game as drills are about to end

A soldier looks through binoculars during naval combat maneuvers of the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command in the waters around Taiwan, August 5, 2022.

Lin Jian | Xinhua News Agency | beautiful pictures

Chinese and Taiwanese warships played a game of cat and mouse at sea on Sunday before the expected conclusion of four days of planned Chinese exercises in response to the visit. Taiwan’s US spokesman.

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.

The island’s defense ministry said in a statement that many Chinese military ships, planes and drones were simulating attacks on the island and its navy. It said it had sent planes and ships to respond “appropriately”.

The person said that when Chinese forces “squeeze” the line as they did on Saturday, the Taiwanese side will closely monitor and, if possible, deny 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.

China’s drills, which focus on six locations around the island claimed by China, began on Thursday and are expected to last until noon Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported this week. before.

China’s military on Saturday said joint sea and air exercises to the north, southwest and east of Taiwan, focused on 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.”

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‘Ruin the peace’

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.

China has also warned the US against “acting rashly” and creating a bigger crisis.

Referring to the reaction to Pelosi’s visit, the Communist Party’s People’s Daily said China had taken “effective measures that fully demonstrate that China is fully determined and has the ability to protect defend national unity and defend … sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang told reporters that China was “arrogant” to use military action to disrupt the peace and he urged Beijing not to use its military muscle.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry on Saturday said its forces 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.

‘The world faces a choice’

As part of the response to Pelosi’s visit, China has stopped communicating through various channels with the United States, including between military orders and about 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.

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 stressed that her trip “is not about changing 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.

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, on Friday accused Blinken of spreading “false information”.

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