BEIJING (UKTN) – Taiwan said on Saturday that China’s military exercises appear to simulate an attack on the self-governed island after multiple Chinese warships and planes crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan’s armed forces have issued a warning, sent air and naval patrols around the island and activated land-based missile systems in response to the situation, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said on Twitter.
China launched live-fire military exercises after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan earlier this week, saying her visit violated the “one China” policy. China considers the island a breakaway province to be forcibly annexed if necessary, and considers visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as recognition of its sovereignty.
Separately on Saturday, Taiwan’s military discovered four unmanned aerial vehicles flying near Kinmen offshore province, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported.
According to Taiwan’s Kinmen Defense Command, the four drones, which Taiwan believed to be Chinese, were seen over the waters around the Kinmen archipelago and nearby Lieyu Island and the islet of Beiding.
The Taiwanese army fired warning flames in response.
“Our government and military are closely monitoring China’s military exercises and information warfare, ready to respond if necessary,” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet.
“I call on the international community to support democratic Taiwan and stop any escalation in the regional security situation,” she added.
Kinmen, also known as Quemoy, is an archipelago administered by Taiwan. The islands are located about 10 kilometers east of the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian Province.
Chinese military exercises started on Thursday and are expected to last until Sunday. So far, the exercises have included missile strikes on targets in the seas north and south of the island, following the last major Chinese military exercises in 1995 and 1996 to intimidate Taiwan’s leaders and voters.
Taiwan has been beefing up its military and organizing civilian defense exercises, while the US has numerous naval assets in the area.
The Biden and Pelosi administrations have said the US remains committed to a “one China” policy, which recognizes Beijing as the government of China, but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei. The administration discouraged but did not prevent Pelosi from visiting.
China also broke off defense talks with the US and imposed sanctions on Pelosi in retaliation for the visit.
Pelosi has long been a human rights advocate in China. She and other lawmakers visited Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1991 to support democracy, two years after a bloody military crackdown on protesters in the square.