The Chinese military is conducting live-fire drills around Taiwan following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing island. On Thursday (August 4) afternoon, China’s People’s Liberation Army launched 11 ballistic missiles into the waters around Taiwan for the first time since 1996.
Chinese state media said the drills were designed to simulate a “blockade” around Taiwan.
“The exercises (are) focused on key training sessions including joint blockade, sea target assault, strike on ground targets, and airspace control operation, and the joint combat capabilities of the troops got tested in the military operations,” the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement.
The exercises, which are expected to last through the weekend, have resulted in flight cancellations and forced cargo ships to find alternative routes around the military drills.
Taiwan said that several missiles had fallen near its islands of Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin. Japan noted that five missiles had fallen into its exclusive economic zone waters.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry blasted the “irrational actions” of China and said they “are operating as usual and monitor our surroundings in response to irrational activities from PRC, aiming for changing the status quo & destabilizing the region’s security.”