China Taiwan war fears as Xi launches missiles directly over island in chilling threat | World | News


Xi Jinping flexed his military muscle as he launched unprecedented military drills in Taiwan a day after a visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi amid fears of all-out war. Soon after the scheduled start, China‘s state broadcaster CCTV said the drills had begun and would end on Sunday.

Tourists can be seen looking on as smoke trails from missiles launched by the Chinese military are seen in the sky from Pingtan Island. 

It said the exercises, the largest ever by China in the Taiwan Strait, would include live firing on the waters and in the airspace surrounding Taiwan.

China’s Eastern Theatre Command said it had completed multiple firings of conventional missiles on waters off the eastern coast of Taiwan as part of the planned exercises.

The last time China fired missiles into waters around Taiwan was in 1996.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said several Dongfeng missiles had been fired in waters to the northeast and southwest of the island.

Two missiles were also launched by China near Taiwan’s Matsu islands, which lie off the coast of China, at around 2pm (local time) in the direction of drill zones announced by China, according to an internal Taiwan security report.

Taiwan officials have said the drills violate United Nations rules, invade Taiwan’s territorial space and are a direct challenge to free air and sea navigation.

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It comes after China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi branded Ms Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan a “manic, irresponsible and highly irrational” act by the US.

Wang, speaking at a meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, said China had made the utmost diplomatic effort to avert crisis, but would never allow its core interests to be hurt.

The foreign ministers in a statement had earlier warned that volatility caused by tensions in the Taiwan Strait could lead to “miscalculation, serious confrontation, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences among major powers”.

 

Unusually, the drills in six areas around Taiwan were announced with a locator map circulated by China’s official Xinhua news agency earlier this week.

In Beijing, security in the area around the US Embassy remained unusually tight on Thursday as it has been throughout this week. But there were no signs of significant protests or calls to boycott US products.

Ms Pelosi, the highest-level US visitor to Taiwan in 25 years, praised its democracy and pledged American solidarity during her brief stopover, warning Chinese anger could not stop world leaders from travelling there.





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