Friday August 5, 2022

Missiles fired from Chinese coast amid Taiwan tensions

China said it is suspending all cooperation with the US on climate change, as well as halting high-level military dialogue as part of a raft of responses to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Earlier, the country had announced imposing sanctions on Ms Pelosi and her immediate family in response to her “vicious” and “provocative” visit to Taiwan, said the Chinese foreign ministry.

It came as Beijing continued with its military offensive and fired multiple ballistic missiles in the direction of Taiwan this morning, four of which flew directly over capital city Taipei in an unprecedented escalation.

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US secretary of state Antony Blinken slammed China’s military exercises, saying there was no justification for Beijing’s “extreme disproportionate and escalatory” response.

The statement came as Ms Pelosi reasserted America’s support for Taiwan, saying China will not be able to isolate the island by preventing US officials from travelling there.

Ms Pelosi, who is in Japan today for the final leg of her Asia tour, nonetheless added that her trip to the region was “not about changing the status quo in Taiwan”.

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Across the sea from Taiwan, Chinese tourists defend country’s military action

Tourists on the beaches of Pingtan island, China’s closest point to Taiwan island, yesterday were treated to an unexpected sight: helicopters in formation and smoke trails from projectiles.

The display was part of extensive drills of military hardware in six zones around Taiwan, deployed the day after US House speaker Nancy Pelosi made a solidarity trip to the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing.

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The residents on Pingtan island defended what China sees as its right to bring Taiwan under its control.

“Taiwan belongs to China. We don’t want any foreign country or foreign force interfering with our domestic problems,” said a 15-year-old student from Wuhan, surnamed Huang.

“Neither side wants to fight. The two governments should negotiate and compromise,” he added.

At a coffee shop in the Pingtan hills, families took turns under a scorching sun to photograph themselves holding pro-unification banners reading “awaiting return”, or “peaceful unification.”

A 27-year-old games designer surnamed You from Fujian province said he believed China should gradually “strengthen” its unification resolve, though not necessarily through “excessive” force.

“In the end, they are compatriots,” You said.

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Tourists visit a scenic area on Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on 5 August 2022

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Tourists visit a scenic area on Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on 5 August 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

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Full report: China halts cooperation with US on climate change and suspends military dialogue

China says it is suspending all cooperation with the US on climate change, as well as halting high-level military dialogue, as part of a raft of responses to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Read the details in this report from my colleague Stuti Mishra:

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China vows to take more counter-measures over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan

China’s foreign ministry has said that it will take more counter-measures over Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week.

The announcement came as China confirmed that it has halted dialogue with the US on climate change, military issues, and anti-drug work in retaliation.

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A television (top) in a restaurant in Hong Kong on 5 August 2022, shows a missile being launched during military exercises being held by China around the island of Taiwan

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A television (top) in a restaurant in Hong Kong on 5 August 2022, shows a missile being launched during military exercises being held by China around the island of Taiwan

(AFP via Getty Images)

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Beijing halts high-level military dialogue with US, suspends other cooperation

Beijing said it was halting cooperation with America in a number of areas, including dialogue between senior-level military commanders, in retaliation for the visit this week to Taiwan by US House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

China’s foreign ministry also said in a statement that it was halting climate talks with the US, as well as cooperation on cross-border crime prevention and on repatriating illegal migrants, among eight specific measures.

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China summons Canadian diplomat over G7 statement on Taiwan

China’s foreign ministry said that it summoned Beijing-based Canadian diplomat Jim Nickel over Canada’s participation in a statement issued by the foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) nations.

This is the latest in a string of diplomatic complaints made by Beijing after the G7 called on China on Wednesday to resolve tension around the Taiwan Strait in a peaceful manner.

Chinese vice foreign minister Xie Feng summoned Mr Nickel yesterday and urged Canada to “immediately correct its mistakes” on the issue of Taiwan or “bear all consequences”, according to the Chinese foreign ministry statement published today.

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China sends 100 warplanes to Taiwan drills

More than 100 warplanes and 10 warships have taken part in live-fire military drills surrounding Taiwan over the past two days, said China today.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that fighters, bombers, destroyers and frigates were all used in what it called “joint blockage operations” taking place in six zones off the coast of Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.

The military’s Eastern Theater Command also fired new versions of missiles it said hit unidentified targets in the Taiwan Strait “with precision.”

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Three French-made Mirage 2000 fighter jets taxi on a runway in front of a hangar at the Hsinchu Air Base in Hsinchu on 5 August 2022

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Three French-made Mirage 2000 fighter jets taxi on a runway in front of a hangar at the Hsinchu Air Base in Hsinchu on 5 August 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

Those included projectiles fired over Taiwan into the Pacific, military officers told state media, in a major ratcheting up of China’s threats to annex the island by force.

The drills, which Xinhua described as being held on an “unprecedented scale,” are China’s response to a visit this week by Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.

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Full story: How airlines are cancelling and re-routing flights amid Chinese drills

Several airlines have cancelled or re-routed flights to Taipei this week, as China carries out its unprecedented military drills surrounding Taiwan.

Read the details in this report from my colleague Lucy Thackray:

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China fires ballistic missiles directly over Taipei in major escalation

China fired multiple ballistic missiles in the direction of Taiwan on Friday morning, four of which flew over capital city Taipei in an unprecedented escalation, as it continues to carry out the largest ever military drills in the seas and skies surrounding the self-ruled island.

The Taiwanese defence ministry confirmed the firing of missiles over its airspace in the capital but added that the projectiles were high in the atmosphere and did not constitute any threat.

Officials have not provided the details of the flight paths due to intelligence concerns.

The launch of missiles was confirmed by Japan’s defence ministry which also reported that as many as four missiles flew over Taipei.

Tokyo, which has been monitoring the military drills announced by Beijing to run until Sunday, said that five of the nine missiles that flew towards its territory landed in its exclusive economic zone.

My colleague Arpan Rai reports:

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White House summons Chinese ambassador for rebuke on Taiwan response – report

The White House summoned Chinese ambassador Qin Gang yesterday to condemn Beijing’s escalating actions against Taiwan and reiterate that the US does not want a crisis in the region, the Washington Post reported.

“After China’s actions overnight, we summoned Ambassador Qin Gang to the White House to démarche him about (China’s) provocative actions,” White House spokesman John Kirby told the outlet.

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National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby answers questions during the daily briefing at the White House on 4 August 2022 in Washington, DC

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National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby answers questions during the daily briefing at the White House on 4 August 2022 in Washington, DC

(Getty Images)

China has itself sanctioned US House speaker Nancy Pelosi and her immediate family in response to what it called her “vicious” and “provocative” actions, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

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Analysis: Japanese backing for military build-up likely to rise after China’s missiles

China’s firing of missiles into waters less than 160km (100 miles) from Japan in a display of might after Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan will likely bolster public support for a military build-up aimed at defence against Japan’s big neighbour.

“It clearly shows that if anything happened with Taiwan that we will be affected,” said Taro Kono, a senior ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker and former foreign and defence minister.

“The tide has clearly turned in Japan,” he added, when asked whether the public would back higher military spending.

<img src="https://static.independent.co.uk/2022/08/05/10/GettyImages-1242313310.jpg?quality=75&width=982&height=726&auto=webp" srcset="https://static.independent.co.uk/2022/08/05/10/GettyImages-1242313310.jpg?quality=75&width=640&auto=webp&crop=982:726,smart 640w" alt="

A US-made C-130 aircraft prepares to land on a runway at the Hsinchu Air Base in Hsinchu on 5 August 2022

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A US-made C-130 aircraft prepares to land on a runway at the Hsinchu Air Base in Hsinchu on 5 August 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

Defence is a divisive issue in Japan, which, as a legacy of World War Two, has a pacifist constitution and an enduring public wariness about entanglement in US-led wars.

China’s unprecedented missile launches into Japan’s exclusive economic zone came as prime minister Fumio Kishida’s government prepares to publish a defence budget request for a significant increase in spending this month.

“The military balance has greatly changed around Taiwan,” said retired admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, who served as chief of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces’ Joint Staff for five years until 2019.

“I hope defence budget discussions will get serious.”

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