Maneuver: Taiwan accuses China of simulated attack on main island

China simulated an attack on the main island during its military exercises on Saturday, according to the government in Taiwan. Chinese planes were deployed in the Taiwan Strait in the morning, the Defense Ministry in Taipei said. For several minutes, some of them crossed the unofficial border line in the middle of the busy shipping lane. Taiwan’s military sees such actions as part of a simulated attack on the main island of Taiwan. China’s Task Force East said the maneuver continued north, southwest and east of Taiwan as planned. The focus is on testing offensive capabilities on land and sea.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said its own military had responded with reconnaissance flights and naval patrols. Land-based missiles were also put on standby. According to the ministry, flares were fired as early as Friday evening to repel seven Chinese drones. These had flown over the Kinmen Islands. In addition, unidentified aircraft have been sighted over the Matsu Islands. Both groups of islands belong to Taiwan and are located near the southeast coast of China.

Beijing has been holding military maneuvers in six areas around Taiwan since Thursday and until Sunday noon, using warplanes, warships and drones. China considers Taiwan part of its territory. Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949. At that time, Mao Zedong’s communists defeated the nationalist Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek in the Chinese civil war, who then withdrew to the island of Taiwan and ruled there in an authoritarian manner for decades. Taiwan sees itself as an independent Republic of China.

The status of Taiwan, which few countries recognize as independent, is one of the main points of contention between the United States and China. Like many other countries, the United States does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan out of consideration for China. However, they support it with military equipment and are its main supplier of armaments.

China began its maneuver just a day after US leader Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. On Friday, the government in Beijing tightened its reaction to the visit of the President of the American House of Representatives and shut down contacts with the United States on several levels. Among other things, a planned meeting of top military representatives from both sides was canceled and the bilateral climate talks were suspended.


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a press conference in Manila on Saturday
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Image: AP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused China of taking “irresponsible steps”. The measures taken by the Beijing government in relation to Taiwan show that China is moving away from the priority of a peaceful solution and towards the use of force, he told the press in Manila. By halting the bilateral processes between China and the United States in eight key areas, the Beijing government is not only punishing the United States, but the whole world and especially developing countries, Blinken said. The areas concern armaments, drugs, cross-border crime and climate change, among others.

Blinken referred to channels between the military of both countries, which are crucial for avoiding misunderstandings and crises. “We should not hold cooperation on matters of global interest hostage because of differences between our two countries.” Tackling climate change is a key area in cooperation between the two superpowers, which are also the largest emitters of greenhouse gases.

Blinken said he told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a regional meeting in Cambodia that Washington is willing to maintain channels of communication with China. This serves to prevent misjudgments and thus an escalation, as countries around the world expected from the two states.

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