February 7, 2023

The ministry said some planes and ships crossed the sensitive center line in the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from the Chinese mainland.

“Our military has issued warnings, deployed combat patrol boats and naval vessels, and activated land-based missile systems in response to the situation,” the ministry said.

China has yet to release any data on the purpose of Saturday’s military exercises.

The news follows a series of military exercises that China has conducted around Taiwan since Thursday after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to the self-governing democratic island earlier this week.
The Chinese Communist Party views Taiwan as its own territory, although it has never controlled it, and has long vowed to “reunify” the island with the Chinese mainland — by force if necessary.

Pelosi shrugged off her angry opposition to her visit by landing in Taipei on Tuesday evening as part of a larger Asian tour that concluded Friday with a final stop in Japan.

China sends warships and planes near Taiwan, raises alert in Japan as tensions escalate

But the full repercussions of her visit have only come to light now, as China has suspended cooperation on various issues, the already tense relations between the United States and China have worsened, and exercises in the skies and waters around Taiwan have intensified.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that 68 Chinese warplanes were reported in the Taiwan Strait. Of these, 49 of those entered the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone – a buffer zone of airspace commonly referred to as an Air Defense Identification Zone. This was just a few aircraft short of the record set last year when 56 Chinese warplanes entered the ADIZ area on the same day.

On Friday, 19 of the warplanes also crossed the line dividing the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said.

On Thursday, China launched 11 ballistic missiles – some of which flew over the island of Taiwan and landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, prompting Tokyo to file a formal complaint with Beijing. This was the first time that China had sent missiles over the island.

Also on Thursday, two Chinese drones flew near Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture, prompting Japan’s Air Self-Defense Forces to scramble fighter jets in response.

The exercises are scheduled to continue until Sunday local time in Beijing, according to Chinese state media.

Japan and other G7 economies have urged China to stop its exercises in the strait and maintain the status quo in the region.

Military exercises drum up China's relentless message in the Taiwan Strait
Beijing responded with a diplomatic offensive, canceling future phone calls between Chinese and US defense leaders, annual naval meetings between the two countries, and planned meetings between Chinese and Japanese officials.

China’s Foreign Ministry announced a set of countermeasures against the United States on Friday, including sanctions against Pelosi and her immediate family.

China also suspended bilateral climate talks; Cooperation on the return of illegal immigrants, transnational crimes and drug operations; and legal aid in criminal matters.

The White House on Friday accused China of “punishing the entire world” by ending climate cooperation, while the Defense Department said China “chose to overreact and use the spokesperson’s visit as an excuse to increase provocative military activity in the region and around the Taiwan Strait.”

John Kirby, the communications coordinator for the National Security Council, said that not all communications between the United States and China had been stopped, and that some channels between senior leaders had remained open — but added that the suspension remained an “irresponsible act.”

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