The Japanese leader on Friday called on China to halt military exercises around Taiwan, a day after five of the Chinese missiles fired during the exercises landed in waters claimed by Japan for its exclusive economic use.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for an “immediate cessation” of the exercises, which he said “have a serious impact on peace and stability in the region and the world,” Kyodo News reported. He spoke to reporters after meeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose high-profile visit to Taiwan this week infuriated China and led to the military exercises.
Ms Pelosi said China “may try to prevent Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places but it will not isolate Taiwan.”
At least 11 Chinese missiles landed in waters north, south and east of Taiwan on Thursday, the first day of the exercises that are scheduled to end on Sunday. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army said they “accurately hit their targets”. Japan said five of them fell in its exclusive economic zone outside its territorial waters.
It appeared that the exercises were continuing on Friday morning. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Chinese ships and planes crossed the unofficial median line in the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from the Chinese mainland.
Understanding the tensions between China and Taiwan
What does China mean to Taiwan? China claims Taiwan, a democratic, autonomous island of 23 million people, as its territory and has long vowed to take it back by force if necessary. The island, to which Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese forces retreated after the Communist Revolution of 1949, was not part of the People’s Republic of China.
The Ministry of Defense said it sent its own planes and Ships and deployment of ground-based missile systems to monitor the situation.
China claims Taiwan, a democratic and self-governing country off its southern coast, as its territory, and regards visits by US politicians as an insult. Pelosi met Taiwan’s president, lawmakers and human rights activists on Wednesday, praising the island’s commitment to democracy.
Besides showing Beijing’s displeasure with her visit, the exercises – scheduled to take place in six regions surrounding Taiwan – appear to have been designed as a trial attempt to seal off the island as part of a potential invasion. China’s leaders, including the current leader, Xi Jinping, have long said that Taiwan should eventually be brought under Beijing’s control, by force if necessary.
The exercises have put the United States in a delicate position. While the Pentagon wants to protect force in the region, it is also sensitive to the risk that military miscalculation near the island could lead to an unintended escalation.
John Kirby, a national security spokesman, said Thursday that the Pentagon had ordered the USS Ronald Reagan “to remain in position” in the area, but at some distance from the entrance to the Taiwan Strait. That represented a more cautious step than that taken during a crisis over Taiwan in 1996, when President Bill Clinton moved aircraft carriers near the strait.
Mr. Kirby added that the United States would resume “normal air and sea transport operations across the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks,” noting that the White House wants to end Chinese exercises first.
On Friday morning, the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet deployed Pictures on Twitter of fighter jets aboard the USS Ronald Reagan during what it said were “flight operations” in the Philippine Sea, southeast of Taiwan.
It was not clear on Friday how the remaining Chinese exercises would end. Leading the eastern theater in China, which includes Taiwan, has He said she was packing More than 100 combat aircraft, bombers and other aircraft, as well as more than 10 destroyers and frigates, according to Reuters.
Ben Dooley Contribute to the preparation of reports.