China’s Military Drills Continue Off Taiwan

Japan’s leader on Friday called on China to stop military exercises around Taiwan, a day after five Chinese missiles launched during the drills landed in waters claimed by Japan. is exclusively for economic purposes.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for an “immediate halt” to the drills, which he said had “a serious impact on the peace and stability of the region and the world”, Kyodo News reported. He spoke to reporters after meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose high-profile visit to Taiwan this week angered China and led to the drills.

Ms. Pelosi said that China “may try to prevent Taiwan from visiting or engaging in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan”.

At least 11 Chinese missiles landed in the waters north, south and east of Taiwan on Thursday, the first day of the exercises, which are scheduled to end on Sunday. The People’s Liberation Army said it had “precisely hit all of its targets”. Japan says five of them have fallen within its exclusive economic zone, outside its territorial waters.

Besides expressing Beijing’s displeasure with her visit, the drills – scheduled to be held in six areas surrounding Taiwan – appear to be designed as a test run. to blockade the island as part of a potential invasion. Chinese leaders, including the current one, Xi Jinping, have long said that Taiwan must eventually be brought under Beijing’s control, by force if necessary.

The drills have put the United States in a fragile position. While the Pentagon wants to preserve power in the region, it is also sensitive to the risk that a military miscalculation near the island could cause unintended escalation.

John Kirby, a national security spokesman, said on Thursday that the Pentagon had ordered the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to “stay stationed” in the area, but a short distance from the entrance to the Taiwan Strait. a distance. That represents a more cautious move than one made during the Taiwan crisis in 1996, when President Bill Clinton moved an aircraft carrier closer to the strait.

The United States will resume “standard air and sea routes through the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks,” Kirby added, a sign that the White House wants the exercises. China ends first.

On Friday morning, the US Navy’s 7th Fleet posted Twitter photo of fighter aircraft on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan during what it said was “flying operations” in the Philippine Sea, southeast of Taiwan.

It was not clear early Friday how the rest of China’s exercises would play out. China’s Eastern Theater Command, including Taiwan, has say it’s mobilizing more than 100 fighters, bombers and other aircraft, as well as more than 10 destroyers and frigates, according to Reuters.

Ben Dooley contribution report.

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