China gives update on Taiwan drills
The Chinese military has conducted a long-range live fire exercise in the Taiwan Strait and used precision weapons to strike “specific areas” in the eastern part of the waterway, it said on Thursday.
The war games, reported by the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, are part of maneuvers launched in zones surrounding the self-governed Chinese island in reaction to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week.
The military said the exercises “achieved the expected results”, but offered no further details.
Beijing, which warned the US against going through with the trip by the third-ranking US official, earlier announced a series of military exercises in six areas surrounding the island, including the Taiwan Strait, a key maritime traffic route. They are due to run until Sunday. Ships and aircraft have been advised to keep away from the designated training zones.
Chinese media reported that the drills may include firing DF-17 missiles, which are tipped with hypersonic glider warheads, and described them as a demonstration that China could fully blockade Taiwan, if it wished to.
Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and has declared peaceful reintegration as its strategic goal. The island was the last stronghold of nationalist forces during the 1940s civil war in China, which was won by the Communists.
The US formally acknowledges that only one Chinese nation exists and recognizes the government in Beijing as leading it. However, Washington has maintained informal relations with Taipei even after rapprochement with Beijing in 1979. The Chinese government has accused the US of eroding the status quo with actions such as Pelosi’s visit.