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China Fires Ballistic Missiles During Massive Drills Near Taiwan

China Taiwan
Taiwan says it will be prepared for any conflict, though such a turn of events may hopefully be avoided. Credit: Video screenshot/YouTube/AFP

China has fired ballistic missiles during its military drills in the sea area off Taiwan as tensions increase after the recent visit of the US Congressional delegation led by Nancy Pelosi in Taipei.

Reuters reported that China launched several Dongfeng ballistic missiles into waters around Taiwan’s northeast and southwest coasts.

The Global Times, which is a Chinese state media outlet, has published this video, which purports to show China launching missiles earlier today aimed at the waters around Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it had activated related defense systems in response to the launch, adding that it condemned China’s irrational action, which destroyed regional peace.

The use of military force won’t solve problems and differences, it said, adding that the drills will not change the fact that the two sides don’t belong to each other.

The US opposes any unilateral efforts to change the Taiwan status quo, especially by force, and its policy on Taiwan has not changed, secretary of state Antony Blinken has told his Southeast Asian counterparts.

Cross-straits stability is in the interests of the whole region, Blinken said at a meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, according to Reuters.

China’s warnings over Taiwan

China accused Pelosi, the most senior US politician in twenty-five years to visit the island China claims as its own, of “playing with fire.”

“Those who play with fire will perish by it,” Beijing warned in a statement on Wednesday.

Pelosi’s visit comes despite repeated warnings from China, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will one day unite with it. Beijing has not ruled out the possible use of force to achieve this.

Within minutes of Pelosi landing in Taiwan on Tuesday night, China said it would immediately begin “a series of joint military operations around the island,” including using long-range live ammunition in the Taiwan Strait.

Pelosi assured Taiwan of Washington’s continued support during a meeting with Tsai Ing-wen, the island’s president.

Pelosi said the US “made a bedrock promise to always stand with Taiwan” when legislators passed the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979, a law that obliges Washington to help the island defend itself.

“Today our delegation came to Taiwan to make it unequivocally clear that we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and we are proud of our enduring friendship,” she said. “Now, more than ever, America’s solidarity with Taiwan is crucial and that is the message we are bringing here.”

Taiwan’s President has expressed her gratitude to Pelosi for her “unwavering support” for Taiwan, calling the US House Speaker one of the island’s most devoted friends.

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