Taiwan said on Saturday that Chinese military exercises appeared to simulate an attack on the self-governing island, after several Chinese warships and planes crossed the middle line of the Taiwan Strait in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei that angered Beijing.
The Ministry of National Defense said Taiwan’s armed forces issued an alert, sent air and sea patrols across the island, and activated land-based missile systems in response to the Chinese exercises. It added that as of 5 p.m., 20 Chinese planes and 14 ships continued to conduct naval and air maneuvers around the Taiwan Strait.
The ministry said the areas declared by China as no-go zones during the exercises on ships and other aircraft “seriously harmed peace.” She stressed that Taiwan’s military does not seek war, but will prepare for it and respond accordingly.
China’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that it has conducted military exercises as planned in the sea and airspace in north, southwest and east Taiwan, focusing on “testing the capabilities” of the land strike and sea attack. systems.
China launched live-fire military exercises in the wake of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week, saying it violated its “one China” policy. China considers the island a breakaway province to be annexed by force if necessary, and foreign officials’ visits to Taiwan are considered recognition of its sovereignty.
Taiwan’s military also said it spotted four drones flying near the Kinmen Maritime Province on Friday night and fired warning bombs in response.
The four drones, which Taiwan believes are Chinese, have been spotted over waters around the Kinmen group of islands, Liu Island and nearby Baiding Island, according to Taiwan’s Kinmen Defense Command.
Kinmen, also known as Quemoy, is a group of islands just 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) east of the Chinese port city of Xiamen in Fujian Province in the Taiwan Strait, which divides the two sides that were split amid a 1949 civil war.
“Our government and military are closely monitoring China’s military exercises and information warfare operations, and are ready to respond as necessary,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet.
“I call on the international community to support democratic Taiwan and stop any escalation of the regional security situation,” she added.
The Chinese military exercises began on Thursday and are expected to continue until Sunday. So far, the exercises have included missile strikes on targets in the seas north and south of the island in a repeat of China’s last major military exercises in 1995 and 1996 aimed at intimidating Taiwan’s leaders and voters.
Taiwan has put its military on alert and conducted civil defense exercises, while the United States has deployed several naval assets to the area.
The Biden and Pelosi administrations said the United States remains committed to the “one China” policy, which recognizes Beijing as the government of China but allows informal and defense ties with Taipei. The administration discouraged Pelosi, but did not stop it.
China also cut defense and climate talks with the United States and imposed sanctions on Pelosi in response to the visit.
Pelosi said Friday, in Tokyo, the last leg of her Asian tour, that China would not be able to isolate Taiwan by preventing US officials from traveling there.
Pelosi has been a longtime advocate for human rights in China. She and other lawmakers visited Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1991 in support of democracy, two years after a bloody military crackdown against protesters in the square.
Meanwhile, cyberattacks aimed at bringing down the website of Taiwan’s foreign ministry doubled between Thursday and Friday, compared to similar attacks before Pelosi’s visit, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency. The ministry did not specify the source of the attack.
Other ministries and government bodies, such as the Ministry of Interior, have also faced similar attacks on their websites, according to the report.
A distributed denial of service attack aims to overload a website with requests for information that eventually causes it to crash, making it inaccessible to other users.
The Central News Agency also reported on Saturday that the deputy head of the research and development unit of the Taiwan Defense Ministry, O Yang Li-shing, was found dead in his hotel room after suffering a heart attack. At the age of 57, he had supervised several missile production projects.
The report said his hotel room in southern Pingtung Province, where he was on a business trip, showed no signs of a break-in.
The Taiwanese overwhelmingly favor maintaining the island’s de facto independence status quo and reject China’s demands that the island unite with the mainland under communist control.
Globally, most countries adhere to the “one China” policy, which is a requirement to maintain diplomatic relations with Beijing.
Any company that does not recognize Taiwan as part of China often faces a swift backlash, often with Chinese consumers vowing to boycott their products.
On Friday, Snickers candy maker Mars Wrigley apologized after he released a video and material showing South Korean boy band BTS referring to Taiwan as a country, prompting swift criticism from Chinese users.
In a statement on its Weibo account, the company expressed its “deepest apologies.”
“Mars Wrigley respects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and conducts its business operations in strict compliance with local Chinese laws and regulations,” the statement said.
In a separate post, the company added that there is “only one China” and said that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of China.”