China fires missiles near Taiwan as PLA encircles island

Taipei: China fired multiple missiles toward water near northeastern and southwestern Taiwan on Thursday, the island’s Defence Ministry said, as Beijing makes good on its promise that Taipei will pay a price for hosting US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, media reports said.

The Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement that multiple missiles have been fired into the sea off the eastern part of Taiwan, adding that all the missiles hit their target accurately, CNN reported.

“The entire live-fire training mission has been successfully completed and the relevant air and sea area control is now lifted,” the statement said, as per the report.

Earlier, the Eastern Theater Command said that it had conducted long-range, live-fire training in the Taiwan Strait, state broadcaster CCTV reported, as part of planned military exercises around the island.

Taiwan also reported that Chinese long-range rockets had fallen near its islands of Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin, which are in the Taiwan Strait, but located closer to the Chinese mainland than the main island of Taiwan.

Chinese state media said that exercises to simulate an air and sea “blockade” around Taiwan had started on Wednesday, but offered little solid evidence to back up the claim. Later on Thursday, images showed military helicopters flying past Pingtan island, one of Taiwan’s closest points to mainland China.

The military posturing was a deliberate show of force after Pelosi left the island on Wednesday evening, bound for South Korea, one of the final stops of her Asia tour that ends in Japan this weekend, CNN reported.

Within hours of her departure from Taipei on Wednesday, the island’s Defence Ministry said China sent more than 20 fighter jets across the median line in the Taiwan Strait, the midway point between mainland China and Taiwan which Beijing says it does not recognise but usually respects.

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