Beijing has authorised ballistic missile launches as part of “training exercises” off the coast of Taiwan, reportedly in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.
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The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has engaged in “joint combat training exercises” in the northern, south-western and south-eastern waters and airspace off the coast of Taiwan.
This involved the deployment of troops from the Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force, Strategic Support Force and Logistic Support Force.
According to China’s Ministry of National Defense, the activities focused on joint blockade, sea target assault, strike on ground targets, airspace control operation, and joint combat capabilities.
This reportedly involved the firing of 11 ballistic missiles.
The PLA’s exercise also involved air activities around Taiwanese airspace, including the deployment of six Shenyang J-11 and five Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, and 16 Sukhoi SU-30 fighter aircraft.
This was in addition to almost daily breaches of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
The military activities followed US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan for meetings with senior government and parliamentary officials.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had said the visit would challenge China’s “red line” and would be met with “resolute countermeasures”.
“The US must bear all consequences arising thereof,” he said.
But Speaker Pelosi doubled down on the United States’ commitment to strengthening economic and security cooperation with Taiwan.
She also lauded Taiwan’s resilience amid mounting threats to its sovereignty during an address following her acceptance of an Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon award.
“The story of Taiwan is an inspiration to all freedom-loving people – in the United States and around the world,” Speaker Pelosi said.
“Out of a crucible of challenge, you have forged a flourishing democracy: one of the freest in the world, proudly to be led by a woman president.
“…And Taiwan has been an island of resilience in the world. Indeed, the people of Taiwan have proven to the world that – with hope, courage and determination – it is possible to build a peaceful and prosperous future, even in terms of the challenges you face.”
Speaker Pelosi went on to stress the United States’ “ironclad” determination to “preserve democracy” in Taiwan.