August 16, 2022

The Taiwan Defense Ministry has neither confirmed nor denied that missiles have flown over Taiwan. If true, it will be the first time that Chinese missiles have flown over the autonomous island.

The Defense Ministry described the maneuvers as “extremely provocative.”

“The Ministry of National Defense has indicated that the Chinese army’s military exercises, whether they launch ballistic missiles or deliberately cross the center line of the strait, are very provocative actions,” the military news agency reported Friday, adding that the ministry said they are. Committed to not escalating the situation.

Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken also condemned China’s drills on Friday as a “major escalation”.

“China chose to overreact and use Speaker Pelosi’s visit as an excuse to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait,” Blinken told a news conference during a meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia.

There is no justification for this extreme and disproportionate military response and escalation.”

The exercises, which began on Thursday, are expected to continue through Sunday.

The Chinese Communist Party has never ruled Taiwan, but it claims to be its own territory. While Chinese President Xi Jinping sees Taiwan’s “reunification” with the mainland as a historical inevitable, recent public opinion polls show that the majority of Taiwanese have no desire to become part of China, and instead want to maintain the status quo.

China has repeatedly warned the United States against the visit, which it said “seriously violates China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The White House says the spokesman’s visit is consistent with US policy on Taiwan and should not be used to create a crisis.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen Thursday evening called on China to “act rationally and exercise restraint.” “We call on the international community to support democratic Taiwan and stop these irrational unilateral military exercises,” she said in a statement on her official Facebook page.

Taiwan’s neighbors and US allies in the region have expressed growing concerns about China’s offer of aggression.

Japan called on China on Friday to immediately halt its exercises. “China’s actions this time have a serious impact on peace and stability in our region and the international community,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.

Beijing has defended the military exercises, saying they are “in line with international law and practice”.

“As for the ‘exclusive economic zone’ that I mentioned, you should know, and the Japanese side should also know that China and Japan have not drawn the boundaries of the respective waters yet, so there is no such thing as ‘Japan’s EEZ’,” said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman. On behalf of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in a press briefing.

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