Pelosi met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday morning, with their attention focused on the Taiwan Strait, where China is conducting air and sea exercises to protest the US spokesman’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week.
China has previously launched missiles into the waters around Taiwan – a democratic island of 24 million people that the Chinese Communist Party considers its territory, although it has never controlled – most notably during the Taiwan Strait crisis in the 1990s.
But the missiles are flying over the island marked A significant escalation, with US officials warning there could be more to come.
“We expected China to take steps like these — in fact, I described them to you in some detail just that day,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, said Thursday.
“We also expect that these measures will continue and that the Chinese will continue to react in the coming days,” he told reporters at the White House.
China began military exercises around the island on Thursday, firing several missiles toward waters near northeastern and southwestern Taiwan.
A Chinese military expert confirmed to state broadcaster CCTV that the conventional missiles flew over the main island of Taiwan, including the airspace covered by Taiwan’s defense missiles.
“We hit the targets under the watch of the American Aegis combat system, which means that the Chinese army has solved the difficulties of hitting long-range targets in the water,” said Major-General Ming Xiangqing, professor of strategy at the National Defense University. in Beijing.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement late Thursday that the missiles hovered above the atmosphere and therefore posed no danger to the island.
The ministry said the authorities had not issued warnings about the air strikes because they had expected the missiles to fall into waters east of Taiwan. The department added that it would not release more information about the missile’s trajectory to protect its intelligence-gathering capabilities.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said Thursday that five ballistic missiles are believed to have fallen within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, including the four that are believed to have flown over Taiwan.
“This is a serious problem related to the security of Japan and the safety of its citizens. We strongly condemn it,” Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kiichi told reporters at a news conference.
CNN’s Gawon Bae and Yong Xiong in Seoul, Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo, Eric Cheung in Taipei, and Sam Fossum in Washington contributed to this report.