Thursday August 18, 2022

Missiles fired from Chinese coast amid Taiwan tensions

A top Taiwanese defence ministry official was found dead on Saturday as the self-governing territory accused China of carrying out a “simulated attack” with the country’s warships and planes conducting missions in the Taiwan Strait.

The deputy head of the Taiwan defence ministry’s research and development unit was found dead on Saturday in a hotel room, with authorities yet to determine the cause of death.

Meanwhile, the ministry tweeted on Saturday that multiple Chinese craft conducted missions in the Taiwan Strait, with some crossing the median line which is an unofficial buffer separating the two sides in what it sees as a “possible simulated attack.”

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The developments come as Beijing continues its military offensive as it fired multiple ballistic missiles in the direction of Taiwan, four of which flew directly over the capital city Taipei.

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 that China will not be able to isolate the island by preventing US officials from travelling there.

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Taiwan says Chinese warships and planes carried out attack simulation

Taiwan’s defense ministry has said multiple Chinese warships and planes conducted missions in the Taiwan Strait in what seemed to be practice for an attack on the island.

Some of the ships and planes, according to officials, crossed the median line – an unofficial buffer separating the two sides.

These movements, Taiwan’s military says were part of a simulation attack on the main Taiwan island.

“Multiple PLA craft were detected around Taiwan Strait, some have crossed the median line. Possible simulated attack against HVA,” Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense tweeted on Saturday.

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Trump says Pelosi’s Taiwan visit gave China ‘an excuse’

Speaking at a rally in Wisconsin, former US president Donald Trump slammed Nancy Pelosi over her recent Taiwan visit.

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“What was she doing in Taiwan? She was China’s dream,” Mr Trump said.

“She gave them an excuse. They’ve been looking for that excuse,” he said of Ms Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing territory.

The former US president’s remarks come as several Republicans, including Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, issued a statement on Ms Pelosi’s visit saying they supported the trip.

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Taiwan defence ministry official leading missile production found dead, report says

Ou Yang Li-hsing, the deputy head of Taiwan defence ministry’s research and development unit, was found dead on Saturday morning in a hotel room, government-controlled Central News Agency reports.

Authorities are looking into the cause of death, according to CNA.

Mr Ou Yang, who assumed the post early this year to supervise missile production projects at the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, was found dead in a hotel room in southern Taiwan.

The military-owned body has been working to more than double its yearly production of missiles to close to 500 this year to boost the Island territory’s combat power amid its growing tensions with China.

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North Korea calls Pelosi ‘worst destroyer of international peace’

Jo Yong Sam, a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry, has slammed US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for visiting Taiwan, calling her “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability” and accusing her of inciting anti-North Korea sentiment.

“Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives of the US, who had come under a volley of due criticism from China for destroying regional peace and stability by visiting Taiwan, stirred up the atmosphere of confrontation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea during her visit to south Korea,” Jo said in a statement carried by state media.

“It would be a fatal mistake for her to think that she can go scot-free in the Korean Peninsula. The US will have to pay dearly for all the sources of trouble spawned by her wherever she went,” he warned.

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Canada urges China to ‘halt its coercive military and economic actions’

Canada has told China to stop missile launches toward Taiwan after US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s contentious visit to the self-governing territory.

“Canada is deeply concerned by the missiles launched by the People’s Republic of China towards Taiwan and into Japan’s exclusive economic zone,” Canada’s foreign minister Melanie Joly tweeted on Saturday, adding that China’s military action “threatens regional stability and security”.

“We strongly urge the PRC to halt its coercive military and economic actions,” she said.

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Chinese military spokesperson accuses US of ‘foreign aggression’

Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China’s military, accused the US of participating in “foreign aggression.”

“China had historically been a victim of foreign aggression. Today, the US still grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs and attempts to undermine China’s sovereignty and security from time to time,” she said on Twitter. “If the US is indeed a responsible country, it should have prevented #Pelosi‘s irresponsible aggression early on and it should have removed the many military vessels and aircraft it has deployed right at China’s doorstep.”

She said the US was using “salami tactics” — an accusation that European analysts have lobbed at China in the past — to “hollow out the One China principle.”

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Taiwan foreign minister says China crossed median line to ‘simulate attacks’

The foreign minister of Taiwan Joseph Wu has tweeted that many of the Chinese planes and vessels “crossed the median line of the strait” on Friday “to simulate attacks”.

“This dangerous escalation of the military threat is wrecking peace & stability in the region and must be condemned”, he wrote on the account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Taiwan defence ministry says China’s drills ‘violated our sovereignty’

The Taiwan Defence Ministry tweeted on Friday that “the recent coercion from PRC’s drills around us aimed to change the status quo of Taiwan Strait, violated our sovereignty, and caused tension in the Indo-Pacific region. #ROCArmedForces seek no escalation, but we succumb to no challenges and respond with reason”.

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Earlier on Friday, the ministry announced that the Chinese army “dispatched 68 aircraft and 13 vessels until 17:00 (UTC+8) for the activities around Taiwan Strait, part of which had crossed the median line and jeopardized the status quo of the strait”.

The ministry said that the armed forces of Taiwan responded “accordingly with surveillance systems, CAP aircraft, naval vessels, and missile systems”.

“We condemn such action that disturbed our surrounding airspace and waters and continue to ensure our democracy and freedom free from threats”, the ministry added.

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Taiwan says 68 planes and 13 warships taking part in Taiwan Strait missions

The defence ministry of Taiwan said on Friday that 68 Chinese military planes and 13 ships were taking part in missions in the Taiwan Strait.

The ministry said that some of them “deliberately” crossed the unofficial zone of separation between China and Taiwan, which is known as the median line.

According to Reuters, the ministry criticized the actions, saying that the Chinese armed forces have “seriously damaged” the status quo and that they “harassed” the waters and airspace of Taiwan.

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Taiwan’s foreign minister defends Pelosi’s visit

Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu defended US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s brief visit to the island as “extremely significant”.

“China has long been trying to isolate Taiwan internationally,” Mr Wu told the BBC. “For an important leader like Speaker Pelosi to have the opportunity to visit Taiwan is very significant. To raise the profile of Taiwan and to allow the international community to understand that Taiwan is a democracy.”

He asserted that the island state wants to maintain the status quo “which is that Taiwan has no jurisdiction over mainland China and the People’s Republic of China (CCP) has no jurisdiction over Taiwan. That is the reality.”

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