China holds live-fire military exercises in Taiwan Strait | TSWT News

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China says it carried out “precision missile strikes” in the Taiwan Strait on Thursday as part of military exercises that have sent tensions in the region to the highest levels in decades.

China previously announced military exercises by its navy, air force and other departments are underway in six zones around Taiwan, which Beijing claims is its own territory to be forcibly annexed if necessary.

The exercises were prompted by a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week and are intended to advertise China’s threat to attack the self-governing island. In addition to its attempts to diplomatically isolate Taiwan, China has long threatened military retaliation against moves away from the island to cement its de facto independence with the support of key allies, including the US.

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“Long-range armed precision missile strikes were conducted on selected targets in the eastern part of the Taiwan Strait,” the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of the ruling Communist Party, said in a statement on its social network. media platform.

“The expected result has been achieved,” it added. No other details were given.

Taiwanese troops on alert

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it has been monitoring the firing of Chinese Dongfeng missiles from around 1:56 p.m. local time on Thursday. It said in a statement it used several early warning systems to track the missile launches, which were targeting waters northeast and southwest of Taiwan.

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Earlier in the day, Taiwan’s defense ministry said its forces were on high alert and monitoring the situation as they tried to prevent escalating tensions. Civil defense exercises have also been conducted and notices have been posted at designated air raid shelters.

China’s “irrational behavior” is designed to change the status quo and disrupt regional peace and stability, the ministry said.

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“The three service departments will join efforts with all people to jointly ensure national security and territorial integrity,” while adapting to the situation as it evolves, the statement said.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported that the exercises were joint operations aimed at “blockade, attacks on naval targets, attacks on ground targets and airspace control”.

While the US has not said it would intervene, it has bases and forward assets in the area, including carrier battlegroups. Under US law, the government must treat threats against Taiwan, including blockades, as “serious concern.”

A pro-Chinese supporter steps on a damaged photo of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a protest against her visit to Taiwan outside the United States Consulate General in Hong Kong on Wednesday. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

The exercises will take place from Thursday to Sunday and include missile strikes on targets in the seas north and south of the island in an echo of the last major Chinese military exercises held in 1995 and 1996 to intimidate Taiwan’s leaders and voters. .

While China has not said anything about the number of troops and military assets involved, the exercises appear to be the largest geographically near Taiwan.

The exercises involved troops from the Navy, Air Force, Missile Force, Strategic Support Force and Logistic Support Force, Xinhua reported.

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