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Chinese and Taiwanese warships shadow each other as drills due to end

World Aug 07, 2022 07:51PM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks with Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu before boarding a plane at Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan August 3, 2022. Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Handout via REUTERS 2/3

By Yimou Lee and David Brunnstrom

TAIPEI (Reuters) -Chinese and Taiwanese warships played high seas "cat and mouse" on Sunday ahead of the scheduled end of four days of unprecedented Chinese military exercises launched in reaction to a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi's visit last week infuriated China, which regards the self-ruled island as its territory and which responded with test launches of ballistic missiles over the island's capital for the first time and the cutting of some areas of dialogue with Washington.

About 10 warships each from China and Taiwan sailed at close quarters in the Taiwan Strait, with some Chinese vessels crossing the median line, an unofficial buffer separating the two sides, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The island's defence ministry said multiple Chinese military ships, aircraft, and drones were simulating attacks on the island and its navy. It said it had sent aircraft and ships to react "appropriately".

In a statement later on Sunday, the ministry said it had detected 14 Chinese warships and 66 Chinese aircraft in and around the Taiwan Strait.

It was not immediately clear if China had ended the drills on Sunday, as previously announced. But a late-evening commentator on Chinese state television said the Chinese military would now conduct "regular" drills on the Taiwan side of the line, saying the "historic task" of China's "reunification" could be realised.

As Chinese forces "pressed" the line, as they did on Saturday, the Taiwan side stayed close to monitor and, where possible, deny the Chinese the ability to cross, said the person with knowledge of the situation who declined to be identified.

"The two sides are showing restraint," the person said, describing the manoeuvres as high seas "cat and mouse".

Taiwan said its shore-based anti-ship missiles and its Patriot surface-to-air-missiles were on stand-by.

The defence ministry said its F-16 jet fighters were flying with advanced anti-aircraft missiles. It issued photographs of Harpoon anti-ship weapons being loaded on another.

Speaking during a visit to Bangladesh, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country's actions were "legitimate, reasonable, in accordance with the law," and aimed at protecting China's "sacred sovereignty".

"It must be borne in mind that Taiwan is not a part of the United States - it is China's territory," Wang's ministry cited him as saying.

LIFTING RESTRICTIONS

The Chinese exercises, centred on six locations around the island, began on Thursday and were scheduled to last until midday on Sunday, the official Xinhua News Agency reported last week.

There was no announcement from China on Sunday on whether the exercises had ended and Taiwan said it was unable to verify whether China had stopped them as scheduled.

Nevertheless, Taiwan's transport ministry it was gradually lifting restrictions on flights through its airspace, saying notifications for the drills were no longer in effect.

But it added that Taiwan would continue to direct flights and ships away from one of the drill zones off its east coast until Monday morning.

China's military has said the sea and air joint exercises, north, southwest and east of Taiwan, had a focus on land-strike and sea-assault capabilities.

The United States called the exercises a significant escalation in China's efforts to change the status quo.

"They are provocative, irresponsible and raise the risk of miscalculation," a White House spokesperson said. "They are also at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

'POLITICAL STUNT'

China says its relations with Taiwan are an internal matter and it reserves the right to bring the island under its control, by force if necessary. Taiwan rejects China's claim, saying only Taiwan's people can decide their future.

China has warned the United States not to "act rashly" and create a greater crisis and the state-run Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary that Pelosi had staged a "political stunt" out of self-interest.

"Insisting on going to the island, she apparently does not care about harming China-U.S. ties, or putting peace across the Taiwan Strait on the line," it said.

Pelosi, a long-time China critic and a political ally of President Joe Biden, arrived in Taiwan late on Tuesday on the highest-level visit to the island by an American official in decades, despite Chinese warnings. She said her visit showed unwavering U.S. commitment to supporting Taiwan's democracy.

Speaking at a news conference in Japan on Friday, Pelosi said her trip to Asia was "not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region".

Taiwan's foreign ministry condemned China's "aggressive and provocative" exercises and urged it "to immediately stop such tension-escalating behaviours that have endangered the common good of the region and the world".

As part of its response to Pelosi's visit, China has halted dialogue with the United States in a series of areas including contacts between theatre-level military commanders and on climate change.

Chiang Kai-shek's defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong's communists, who proclaimed the People's Republic of China in Beijing.

Chinese and Taiwanese warships shadow each other as drills due to end
 

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Comments (25)
Flat Top
Flat Top Aug 07, 2022 1:49PM ET
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Time to sent China to the stone age
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Aug 07, 2022 1:49PM ET
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Of, please. As much as real politik might try to impose unjustified prejudices upon us, the peoples of the world look to love each other and hope for an ever improving world of acceptance and understanding.
Tony Barnes
Tony Barnes Aug 07, 2022 1:49PM ET
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Hi Flat Head, if a China is back to the stone age, so will you and your country, dumb!
Tony Barnes
Tony Barnes Aug 07, 2022 1:49PM ET
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Hi Flathead, so will your country. Do you think you own the world?
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Aug 07, 2022 11:16AM ET
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Putin trump jinx same sam remember when trump were saying he was god gift to the humanity i hope not acebook will help him again
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Aug 07, 2022 11:13AM ET
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Jinx and putin why are they stil here trump my god will Facebook help him again
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Aug 07, 2022 11:10AM ET
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Those people are sick remember when trump were saying he was god gift to humanity they are crazy
Gary Piccone
Gary Piccone Aug 07, 2022 9:50AM ET
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You can bet if Pelosi husband had any Chinese stocks she wouldnt have gone to Taiwan
Apa JayChou
Apa JayChou Aug 07, 2022 9:03AM ET
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Ching Chong Chang
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Aug 07, 2022 8:39AM ET
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Xi Jinping must have a very tiny weewee.
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Aug 07, 2022 8:39AM ET
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He have none
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Aug 07, 2022 8:39AM ET
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Same putin
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Aug 07, 2022 8:39AM ET
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They are Eunuchs?
gab nea
gab nea Aug 07, 2022 8:20AM ET
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it takes a strong woman who will not walk 3ft behind a man to rile up chinese communist dictators, I love the image!
Dave Jones
Dave Jones Aug 07, 2022 8:20AM ET
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I'm sure if this sparks WW3 then we'll all be happy about that strong woman.
Dave Jones
Dave Jones Aug 07, 2022 6:19AM ET
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Thousands of mens lives on the line. Millions of dollars spent. Yet what consumed pelosi was which outfit to match her blue cloud sash award. Women are such delightful creatures.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Aug 07, 2022 6:19AM ET
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Here is a view fro someone who is secure in his masculinity: Thousands of peoples' lives on the line and millions of dollars spent in reaction to an accomplished woman by a cartoon bear who is afraid he is inadequate. Better?
Peter Andersen
Peter Andersen Aug 07, 2022 4:39AM ET
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Let’s move Taiwans chip production to USA
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Aug 07, 2022 4:39AM ET
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The US congress just approved a bill to help make that happen. 220 Republican law makers voted against it, but they were not enough to stop it.
Assel Kopp
Assel Kopp Aug 07, 2022 4:39AM ET
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u know nothing about the tech behind chip production.
 
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