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Chinese And Taiwanese Warships Shadow Each Other As Drills Near Completion

Story Highlights
  • China has warned the US not to "act rashly" and exacerbate the crisis, and the state-run Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary that Pelosi staged a "political stunt" for self-interest.
  • According to the defence ministry, its F-16 jet fighters are equipped with advanced anti-aircraft missiles. It released images of Harpoon anti-ship weapons being loaded onto another ship.

On Sunday, Chinese and Taiwanese warships played high seas “cat and mouse” ahead of the scheduled end of four days of unprecedented Chinese military exercises launched in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Pelosi’s visit last week enraged China, which regards the self-ruled island as its territory and responded with the first-ever test launch of ballistic missiles over the island’s capital and the suspension of some areas of dialogue with Washington.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, about ten warships from China and Taiwan sailed at close quarters in the Taiwan Strait, with some Chinese vessels crossing the median line, an unofficial buffer separating the two sides.

Multiple Chinese military ships, aircraft, and drones were simulated attacks on the island and its navy, according to the island’s defence ministry. It stated that it had dispatched aircraft and ships to respond “appropriately.”

Later that day, the ministry issued a statement saying it had detected 14 Chinese warships and 66 Chinese aircraft in and around the Taiwan Strait.

It was unclear whether China had ended the drills on Sunday, as previously announced. However, a late-night commentator on Chinese state television stated that the Chinese military would now conduct “regular” drills on the Taiwan side of the line, implying that the “historic task” of China’s “reunification” could be completed.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation who declined to be identified, as Chinese forces “pressed” the line on Saturday, the Taiwan side stayed close to monitor and, where possible, deny the Chinese the ability to cross.

“The two sides are showing restraint,” the person said, describing the manoeuvres as “cat and mouse” on the high seas.

Taiwan stated that its shore-based anti-ship missiles and Patriot surface-to-air missiles were ready.

According to the defence ministry, its F-16 jet fighters are equipped with advanced anti-aircraft missiles. It released images of Harpoon anti-ship weapons being loaded onto another ship.

During a visit to Bangladesh, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated that his country’s actions were “legitimate, reasonable, and in accordance with the law,” and that they were intended to protect China’s “sacred sovereignty.”

“It must be remembered that Taiwan is not a part of the United States; it is Chinese territory,” Wang was quoted as saying by his ministry.


The Chinese exercises, which were centred on six locations around the island, began on Thursday and were scheduled to last until midday on Sunday.

On Sunday, China made no announcement about whether the exercises had ended, and Taiwan said it was unable to confirm whether China had stopped them as planned.

Nonetheless, Taiwan’s transport ministry said it was gradually lifting restrictions on flights through its airspace and that drill notifications were no longer in effect.

However, Taiwan said it would continue to divert flights and ships away from one of the drill zones off its east coast until Monday morning.

According to China’s military, the sea and air joint exercises north, southwest, and east of Taiwan focused on land-strike and sea-assault capabilities.

The exercises were described by the US as a significant escalation in China’s efforts to change the status quo.

“They are provocative, irresponsible, and risk miscalculation,” said a White House spokesperson. “They also contradict our long-held goal of ensuring peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”


China claims that its relations with Taiwan are an internal matter and that it reserves the right to take control of the island, using force if necessary. Taiwan rejects China’s claim, claiming that only the people of Taiwan can decide their future.

China has warned the US not to “act rashly” and exacerbate the crisis, and the state-run  in a commentary that Pelosi staged a “political stunt” for self-interest.

“By insisting on visiting the island, she appears to be unconcerned about harming China-US relations or jeopardising peace across the Taiwan Strait,” it said.

Despite Chinese warnings, Pelosi, a long-time China critic and political ally of President Joe Biden, arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday on the highest-level visit by an American official in decades. She stated that her visit demonstrated the United States’ unwavering commitment to Taiwan’s democracy.

Pelosi stated at a press conference in Japan on Friday that her trip to Asia was not about “changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region.”

Taiwan’s foreign ministry condemned China’s “aggressive and provocative” exercises and urged it to “immediately cease such tension-escalating behaviours that have jeopardised the region’s and the world’s common good.”

As a result of Pelosi’s visit, China has suspended dialogue with the US in a number of areas, including contacts between theater-level military commanders and on climate change.

After losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s communists, Chiang Kai-defeated shek’s Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949, establishing the People’s Republic of China in Beijing.

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