Taiwan has denounced this Saturday that Chinese military ships and planes crossed the middle line of the Strait of Formosa again in a “possible simulated attack” during the third day of military maneuvers in retaliation for the visit to the island of the president of the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi.
China-Taiwan tensions: what about military exercises and what precedents are there?
In a message published on its official Twitter account, the island’s Ministry of National Defense assures that the objective of this simulated attack would be a “high-value asset.” Some media such as the official Taiwanese news agency CNA added, also citing the portfolio, that it would be a rehearsal for a possible attack against the island.
According to the official Chinese newspaper Global TimesSaturday’s drills included “realistic, combat-oriented, joint sea and air exercises” in areas of northern, southwestern, and eastern Taiwan, “focusing on a land attack and maritime assault under systemic support.” .
In response, Taipei issued alerts and deployed air and naval patrols, also activating its land-based missile systems, as it did yesterday in the face of the “strong provocation” of the crossing of the middle line of the Strait by several ships and Chinese planes.
According to figures from the Ministry, up to 49 aircraft crossed the aforementioned imaginary line this Friday, which functions as an unofficial border but tacitly respected by China and Taiwan in recent decades.
Drones, medical drills and surveillance patrols
In another separate statement, the Taiwanese military portfolio claimed to have detected up to seven Chinese drone incursions this Friday on the Kinmen Islands, controlled by Taipei despite being located just five kilometers from the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen.
Also, on the Matsu and Dongyin islands, also close to the Chinese coast, Taiwanese forces launched warning flares to deter various drones and other unidentified flying devices.
Meanwhile, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA, the Chinese Army) organized medical drills by transforming a high-speed train into a mobile hospital for more than 100 patients, something that, according to the Hong Kong daily South China Morning Postwould be a demonstration of military preparation for possible casualties or injuries.
Likewise, the Armed Forces published a photo of a soldier using binoculars to monitor a Taiwanese warship supposedly near the eastern coast of the island.
The EPL’s movements are part of the military maneuvers that it has been carrying out since Thursday and will last until Sunday in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit, and which have so far included live fire and the launch of long-range missiles.
These exercises take place in six zones around the island, one of them about 20 kilometers from the coast of Kaohsiung, the main city in southern Taiwan.
An “irresponsible blockade”, according to Taiwan
Although China has carried out other drills in the Taiwan Strait in recent years, this week’s ones are different because “they cover a larger area, involve more military elements and are expected to be highly effective,” Chinese experts on the matter reported. of defense quoted by local media.
Taiwan has described China’s military presence in the aforementioned areas as a “blockade,” and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called China’s “deliberately heightened military threat” “irresponsible.”
China, which described Pelosi’s visit -according to CNA, that of a US official with the highest rank in 25 years- a “farce” and “deplorable betrayal”, claims the sovereignty of the island and considers Taiwan a rebellious province since the Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949, after losing the civil war against the communists.
Yesterday, Beijing announced several sanctions against Pelosi and her direct relatives and raised the level of its reprisals by suspending cooperation mechanisms with Washington in judicial matters, climate change, repatriation of illegal immigrants, criminal judicial assistance or the fight against transnational crimes.