China begins 'illegitimate, irresponsible' live-fire military drills - Taiwan

i24NEWS - Reuters

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Tourists look on as a Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest points from Taiwan, in Fujian province, China, on August 4, 2022
Hector RETAMAL / AFPTourists look on as a Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest points from Taiwan, in Fujian province, China, on August 4, 2022

China is conducting drills on the 'busiest international waterways and aviation routes'

China launched live-fire military drills in six areas that ring Taiwan on Thursday, a day after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-ruled island that Beijing regards as Chinese territory. 

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said the drills began and would end on Sunday, including live firing on the waters and in the airspace surrounding Taiwan.

On Thursday, China launched two missiles near Taiwan's Matsu islands, which lie off Beijing's coast, according to an internal Taiwan security report seen by Reuters and confirmed by a security source.

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Taiwanese officials said the drills violate United Nations rules, invade Taiwan's territorial space and are a direct challenge to free air and sea navigation.

China is conducting drills on the "busiest international waterways and aviation routes," which is "irresponsible, illegitimate behavior," Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said.

Taiwan's cabinet spokesman, expressing severe condemnation of the drills, also said that the websites of the defense ministry, the foreign ministry and the presidential office were attacked by hackers.

Unidentified aircraft flew above the area of Taiwan's outlying Kinmen islands near the mainland coast on Wednesday night, just hours after Pelosi left, the country's defense ministry said. 

"We immediately fired flares to issue warnings and to drive them away. After that, they turned around. They came into our restricted area, and that's why we dispersed them," Major General Chang Zone-sung of the army's Kinmen Defense Command told Reuters.

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory and reserves the right to take it by force, said on Thursday its differences with the self-ruled island were an internal affair.

"Our punishment of pro-Taiwan independence diehards, external forces is reasonable, lawful," China's Beijing-based Taiwan Affairs Office said, according to Reuters.

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