Chinese forces took part in drills focused on land attacks and long-range airstrikes around Taiwan on Sunday, its military said, on what was expected to be the final day of extensive exercises rolled out in response to a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese military said on Sunday around noon local time that it conducted live-fire drills in the waters and airspace around Taiwan “as planned.”
“The drills focused on joint fire land strikes and long-range air strike capabilities,” the command said in a statement posted to its official account on the social media platform Weibo, without specifying whether the drills have ended.
The exercises, planned to take place in six zones around the island, began on Thursday and were scheduled to last until Sunday at noon local time in Beijing, Chinese state media reported.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry on Sunday said it detected multiple Chinese aircraft, naval vessels and drones operating around the Taiwan Strait that morning, in what it called a “simulated attack against the main island of Taiwan and Taiwan’s naval vessels” a slight dial-up of language from Saturday when it said that Chinese military drills around the island could be a “possible simulated attack.”
Taiwan’s military “closely monitored” the situation and deployed aircraft and vessels to “appropriately” react to Chinese military drills around the island, the Defense Ministry added. It also said drones “intruded” into outlying islands controlled by Taiwan.
China announced the drills within an hour of the arrival of Pelosi and a congressional delegation in Taiwan on Tuesday evening. The stop, which was expected but not announced beforehand, was part of a larger Asia tour.
Chinese officials had repeatedly warned Washington of unspecified repercussions in the lead-up to the expected trip. In addition to the drills, Beijing also launched a raft of diplomatic penalties, including canceling future phone calls between Chinese and US defense leaders and suspending bilateral climate talks.
The Chinese Communist Party views self-governing Taiwan as its territory, despite never having controlled it, and has long vowed to “reunify” the island with the Chinese mainland.