China military exercises threaten status quo in Taiwan Strait, warns Taipei – Chosun Ilbo : Daily News from Korea

The PLA sent 68 aircraft and 13 ships for operations around the Taiwan Strait, “some of which crossed the Central Line, endangering the status quo in the Strait,” Taiwan’s defense ministry said. said. This is the second day in a row that Chinese planes and ships have crossed the Central Line, the de facto maritime border between China and Taiwan.

China has declared four days of military exercises in six designated zones surrounding the island as part of its response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week. The drills have heightened fears of miscalculation, but so far, Taiwanese and U.S. officials have said they have no intention of escalating the situation.

On Friday, the Chinese military conducted air and sea combat exercises north, southwest and east of Taiwan, according to a social media post by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command.

The day before, China launched at least 11 missiles into waters near Taiwan’s coast. At least four of the missiles flew over Taiwan, according to Japanese defense officials, in what many defense analysts described as an unprecedented provocation. Five missiles landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, prompting a firm condemnation of Tokyo.

A Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft flies over a scenic spot 68 nautical miles from mainland China, one of the closest points to the island of Taiwan from mainland China, on Pingtan Island, Fujian Province, China, August 5, 2022. / Reuters

“China’s actions have a serious impact on peace and stability in the region and the world,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday after meeting Pelosi, who was stationed in Tokyo as the final destination of his Asian tour. , said:

China is outraged by Pelosi’s visit, which was intended to express solidarity with Taiwan, a democratic island of about 24 million people. It claims the island is a province of China and vows to seize it by force if necessary.

China’s foreign ministry on Friday announced unspecified sanctions against Pelosi and her family, accusing her of “serious interference in China’s internal affairs.” China’s foreign ministry said on Friday that Beijing would end cooperation with the United States in several areas, including dialogue between military officials and climate talks.

The White House summoned China’s ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, late Thursday to condemn Beijing’s actions against Taiwan, according to The Washington Post. A White House statement obtained by the newspaper said it “condemned China’s military actions as irresponsible and contrary to its long-held goal of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

◆ New normal?

In China, some state media see the exercise as a rehearsal for aggression and a demonstration that Beijing can impose a blockade on the island. And whether such provocations will continue in the coming weeks or months.

“Beijing is well known to use crisis opportunities to advance other objectives and create a new normal for controversy,” said Amanda Xiao, a senior analyst in Taipei at International Crisis Group. It’s about being there,’ he said. “I think the increased military activity, especially around the Taiwan Strait Central Line, is aimed at further extending and normalizing its presence into the Taiwan Strait,” she said. “That kind of activity could well last well past the announced exercise timeframe.”

Analysts warn that if China normalizes its military presence closer to Taiwan, it could increase the chances of miscalculation and result in less strategic space for Taiwan’s forces to maneuver.

Taiwan’s military says it continues to have freedom of movement and is monitoring intrusions, said Derek Grossman, a senior analyst specializing in Asia at the Rand Corporation, a policy research institute. . “Because if you really have a problem, not only will you flash red for help, especially from the United States, but there are also people from Japan and Australia and others who want help. They won’t go. They’re not ashamed to ask for help.” he said.

Grossman also points out that the Chinese military has set deadlines for military exercises. “I think it’s a good practice for a lockdown, but it’s not a lockdown without a time frame,” he said. “It’s important to book once this is over because otherwise everyone can get really nervous and out of control.”

It relies heavily on the response of the US military stationed in the region. On Thursday, a US official said a carrier strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan would remain nearby to “monitor the situation.” The US military will also conduct “standard air and sea transit” through the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks, said John Kirby, the National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator. Kirby said the United States is postponing a long-term planned test of the Air Force Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.

In a video speech on Thursday, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen insisted the Taiwanese military was “calm and in no rush to act.”

“We are reasonable and do not act provocatively, but we will never back down,” Tsai added.

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