The Chinese Army today began “important” military exercises with live fire around Taiwan, exercises that will last until Sunday and that are equivalent to a “sea and air blockade” of Taiwan, according to the island’s Ministry of Defense.
The maneuvers, which start a day after the controversial visit to Taipei by the President of the US Legislature, Nancy Pelosi, include the closure of maritime and air space in six areas around the island, one of them about 20 kilometers from the coast of Kaohsiung, the main city in southern Taiwan.
This Wednesday, Taiwan recorded the entry of 27 Chinese military aircraft into its self-defined Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), against which its Army activated a combat air patrol, issued radio warnings and deployed missile defense systems to monitor Chinese appliances.
In addition, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry reported today that Taiwanese forces had to fire flares twice last night to drive away a Chinese military drone that was flying over the vicinity of the Kinmen Islands (also known as Quemoy), which, despite being just 30 kilometers from the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen, they are controlled by Taipei.
In recent decades, these islands have been the target of bombing by China when tensions between Taipei and Beijing reached their highest levels.
According to Taiwanese media, the Chinese drills have affected 18 international air routes on the island and more than 900 flights have been forced to change their route.
The Taiwanese Transport Ministry declared that ships arriving in or leaving Taiwan will have to “get around” the practice areas and warned that, despite the fact that the journeys “will only take a few more hours”, the “cumulative impact” will be felt in the future if the Chinese military exercises “prolong” in time.
The island’s Ministry of Defense reported today that it is “monitoring” the surroundings of the island in response to “irrational activities” by the Chinese Army and that, although it does not want “an escalation” of the situation, “it will not back down.” ” regarding the “security and sovereignty” of Taiwan.
At the same time, according to Chinese state media, a US RC-135S reconnaissance plane left the Japanese island of Okinawa, located just over 600 kilometers from Taiwan, heading for the island.
In contrast, the Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier moved away from Taiwan and headed northeast toward Japan, also according to Chinese media.
China, which described Pelosi’s visit as a “farce” and “deplorable betrayal”, claims sovereignty over the island and considers Taiwan a rebellious province since the Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949, after losing the civil war against the communists