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Chinese PLA conducts drills sealing off Taiwan

Posted August. 05, 2022 08:03,   

Updated August. 05, 2022 08:03


At Thursday noon, a day after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan, China embarked on a live-firing military exercise that effectively seals off the waters and skies of Taiwan. The Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army reportedly conducted precision military strikes in the waters off the eastern coast of the Taiwan Straits.

This indicates that the rockets fired by the Chinese army crossed over the center line of the Taiwan Strait, the de facto border between China and the self-ruled island. Footages of the rockets launched offshore filmed by citizens were posted Weibo, a Chinese social network platform.

The six exercise spots where the Chinese military conducted its live-firing drills were over the center line of the straits and closer to the island. The Chinese military also warned of firing long-distance rockets and conventional missiles. Their act could be likened to firing missiles over the Military Demarcation Line on the Korean Peninsula for an exercise.

Notably, three exercise spots were within the territorial waters of Taiwan. The spot in the southwestern part of Taiwan was only 9.5 kilometers away from Lambai Island, which near Kaohsiung, the second biggest city in Taiwan. One can see the launch of missiles with bare eyes from that distance. Another exercise spot, which is the northeastern part of Taipei, is also only 18.5 kilometers away from the waters. On Thursday, the Chinese state-run news website Global Times said the existence of the median line of the Taiwan Straits through the concrete action of the PLA.

The PLA also mobilized the Chinese Dongfeng series missile, a hypersonic missile that cannot be intercepted by any of the current missile defense systems. The Taiwanese military responded with the F-5 fighter jets.

On Wednesday (local time), U.S. President Joe Biden convened his national security team on a call before China conducted the military drills. This is the first time that Washington has revealed the fact that Mr. Biden directly presided over a meeting in regard with Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Washington said it will closely monitor China’s drills and manage the situation.

Ki-Yong Kim kky@donga.com