China fires missiles near Taiwan in drills after Pelosi visit


A day after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid a solidarity visit to the self-governing island, China conducted its largest manoeuvres in the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, deploying dozens of planes and firing real missiles close to Taiwan.

As part of scheduled drills in six zones that are scheduled to go until noon on Sunday, China’s military reported that numerous conventional missile firings occurred in the waters around Taiwan. According to official broadcaster CCTV, it activated over 100 aircraft, including fighter jets and bombers, as well as over ten warships.

According to Taiwan’s defence ministry, the country sent out jets to warn off 22 Chinese fighter planes that had flown into its air defence zone across the Taiwan Strait median line. Late on Thursday, troops fired flares to scare off four drones that were flying over the Kinmen islands, which are off the coast of China’s southeast.

In response to public concern about whether Chinese missiles crossed over Taiwan’s main island, it said that they soared high into the stratosphere and posed no threat to it.

The day following Pelosi’s departure, China began conducting military exercises surrounding the island on Thursday, launching many missiles into the waters nearby northeastern and southern Taiwan.

On official television CCTV, a Chinese military analyst acknowledged that the conventional missiles went above Taiwan’s main island and the airspace protected by Taiwanese defence missiles. Because authorities believed the missiles would land in waters east of Taiwan, air raid alarms were not raised, according to the ministry. To safeguard its capacity for intelligence collection, the ministry additionally stated that it will withhold more information regarding the missiles’ trajectory.

On Thursday, China also dispatched 22 fighter jets into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ). All of these aircraft breached the median line, which divides the island from the mainland across the Taiwan Strait.

Similar Chinese excursions across the median line, which had traditionally served as an unofficial but widely acknowledged boundary of control between Beijing and Taipei, were followed by this one a day later. According to a statement from Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, 12 SU-30 fighter planes, eight J-11 fighter jets, and two J-16 fighter jets were responsible for the intrusions on Thursday.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen criticised China’s military exercises as “irresponsible” in a speech on Thursday, calling them a “deliberate and continual buildup of military threats.”


She further added, “I must emphasize that, we do not seek to escalate conflicts or provoke disputes, but we will firmly defend our sovereignty and national safety, as well as safeguarding democracy and freedom.”

She also expressed gratitude to the Group of Seven, which consists of the seven greatest economies in the world. In a statement published on Wednesday, the Group of Seven expressed worry about China’s live-fire drills and urged Beijing not to alter the status quo in the area. The drills have also disrupted ship and aircraft schedules, with some foreign flights being cancelled and ships being advised to take detours to reach various ports around the island. 

The Chinese Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that it will conduct its drills in six zones surrounding Taiwan and advised ships and planes to avoid the regions while the exercises were taking place.

For ships transporting cargo between China, Japan, South Korea, and other important economies in northeast Asia and the rest of the globe, the Taiwan Strait is a crucial commercial route.