The Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command said Sunday around noon local time that it “continued” live-fire drills in the waters and airspace around Taiwan “as planned.”
“The drills focused on joint ground fire strikes and long-range air strike capabilities,” the command said in a statement posted on its official account on the social media platform Weibo, without specifying whether the drills have ended.
Taiwan’s military has been “closely monitoring” the situation and has deployed aircraft and ships to respond “appropriately” to Chinese military exercises around the island, the defense ministry added. He also said drones had “randomized” remote islands controlled by Taiwan.
The ministry did not immediately give the exact number of Chinese aircraft, ships or drones spotted on Sunday morning, or whether they crossed the sensitive median line in the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from mainland China.
China announced the drills — the scale of which marks a major escalation from previous activities — within an hour of Pelosi and a congressional delegation arriving in Taiwan on Tuesday afternoon. The stop, which was expected but not announced in advance, was part of a larger tour of Asia.
On Saturday, 14 ships and 20 planes operated by the Chinese military were spotted around the Straits, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry. Of the 20 aircraft, 14 crossed the median line, he added.
The previous day, Friday, 68 Chinese warplanes were reported in the Taiwan Strait, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry. Of those, 49 entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone — an airspace reserve commonly referred to as the ADIZ. That was just a few planes short of the record set last year, when 56 Chinese warplanes entered the ADIZ on the same day.
Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang on Sunday reiterated Taiwan’s condemnation of the drills.
“Not only Taiwan but also other countries in the region as well as freedom-loving countries like the US and so on have strongly protested and condemned China’s arrogant military operations that disrupt regional peace and stability,” he said during a press conference.
“We call on the Chinese government not to flex its military muscles and disrupt regional peace.”
A spokesman for the US National Security Council on Saturday called China’s recent military activities around Taiwan a “significant escalation of China’s efforts to change the status quo.”
“They are provocative, irresponsible and increase the risk of miscalculation,” the spokesman said. “It is also contrary to our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, which is what the world expects.”
Beijing has defended the drills, saying its actions are “legal and justified” and calling the US a “destabilizer of peace in the Taiwan Strait”.