China said on Sunday it conducted a fourth straight day of air and sea military exercises around Taiwan following a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-governing island, despite international calls to calm tensions.
The PLA said the exercise focused on testing long-range air and ground strikes. It did not say whether it would continue the drill after Sunday.
Taiwan said it continued to detect multiple shipments of Chinese planes, ships and drones near the Taiwan Strait that separates the island of Taiwan and mainland China, and “simulated attacks on the island of Taiwan and ships in our seas.”
Taiwan’s official Central News Agency also reported that Taiwan’s military will conduct live-fire artillery drills in southern Pingtung County on Tuesday and Thursday in response to China’s drills.
The report quoted an unnamed source as saying that the exercise will include snipers, combat vehicles, armored vehicles and attack helicopters.
China’s announcement of a four-day no-show zone around Taiwan immediately after Pelosi’s visit to Taipei on Tuesday and Wednesday angered Beijing, arguing that it violated the “one China” policy. China claims Taiwan and threatens to annex it by force if necessary. The two sides split in 1949 after a civil war, but Beijing sees foreign officials visiting Taiwan as a recognition of its sovereignty.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry stressed that the military is closely monitoring the situation and has dispatched aircraft and ships to respond accordingly.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen called on the international community to “support democratic Taiwan” and “stop any escalation of the regional security situation”.
China has so far carried out missile strikes against targets in the waters surrounding Taiwan and sent warships across the centerline of the Taiwan Strait. It also cut off defense and climate talks with the U.S. and imposed sanctions on Pelosi in retaliation for her visit.
The Biden administration and Pelosi said the U.S. remains committed to a “one China” policy that recognizes Beijing as the legitimate government but allows informal and defense ties with Taipei.
However, the United States has criticized Beijing’s actions in the Taiwan Strait, which White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre called “simply irresponsible”.
“This upgrade is neither necessary nor justified,” Jean-Pierre said.
Singapore’s coordinating minister for national security, Zhang Zhixian, said in a Facebook post on Saturday that tensions between the United States and China over the Taiwan issue “could lead to conflict and war, damaging the interests of all parties, especially the people of Taiwan.”
Tensions have had a negative impact on Southeast Asia, Teo said, adding: “We hope wisdom will prevail.”