taiwan strait: China claims ‘precision missile strikes’ in Taiwan Strait

China says it carried out “precision missile strikes” in the Taiwan Strait on Thursday as part of military exercises that have sent tensions in the region to the highest levels in decades.

China previously announced military exercises by its navy, air force and other departments are underway in six zones around Taiwan, which Beijing claims is its own territory to be forcibly annexed if necessary.

The drills were prompted by a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week and are designed to advertise China’s threat to attack the self-governing island republic. In addition to its attempts to diplomatically isolate Taiwan, China has long threatened military retaliation against moves away from the island to cement its de facto independence with the support of key allies, including the US.

“Long-range armed precision missile strikes were conducted on selected targets in the eastern part of the Taiwan Strait,” the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of the ruling Communist Party, said in a statement on its social network. media platform.

“The expected result has been achieved,” it added. No other details were given.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said its troops were on high alert and monitoring the situation while trying to prevent escalating tensions. Civil defense exercises have also been conducted and notices have been posted at designated air raid shelters.

China’s “irrational behavior” is designed to change the status quo and disrupt regional peace and stability, the ministry said.

“The three service departments will combine their efforts with all people to jointly protect national security and territorial integrity,” while adapting to the situation as it develops, the statement said.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported that the exercises targeted joint operations on “blockade, attack on sea targets, strike on ground targets and airspace control”.

While the US has not said it would intervene, it has bases and forward assets in the area, including carrier battlegroups. US law requires the government to treat threats against Taiwan, including blockades, as matters of “serious concern.”

The exercises will take place from Thursday to Sunday and include rocket attacks on targets in the seas north and south of the island in an echo of the last major Chinese military exercises held in 1995 and 1996 to intimidate Taiwan’s leaders and voters. .

While China has not said anything about the number of troops and military assets involved, the exercises appear to be the largest geographically near Taiwan.

The exercises involved troops from the Navy, Air Force, Missile Force, Strategic Support Force and Logistic Support Force, Xinhua reported.

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