China launched missile strikes in the Taiwan Strait as a response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Tuesday. Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, stated that the drills included conventional missile launches and long-range explosive projectiles.
Beijing claims Taiwan as its territory, and the shots were intended to warn the island that additional attempts to declare independence and build international alliances would lead to military retaliation.
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying warned about Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Chunying stated, “If the U.S. goes its own way, it will be responsible for all the serious consequences.”
The live-fire exercises targeted six zones in the north, south, and east waters surrounding the island. The PLA declared, “All missiles hit the target accurately.”
The PLA’s deputy chief of staff, Gu Zhong, noted that the operation was a “necessary response” to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. He concluded that the military action was a “stern message to the ill-intended officials and separatist forces seeking ‘Taiwan Independence.'”
China’s state-owned broadcaster, CCTV, reported that the country had launched “hundreds” of warplanes and more than ten warships. It referred to the action as a “practical training exercise of unprecedented scale.”
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry confirmed that the live-fire drill began at 1:56 p.m. on Thursday. Taiwan used early warning surveillance systems to detect the projectiles. It concluded that a total of 11 missiles entered the water surrounding the island.
Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori reported that at least five of the missiles launched by China landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Taiwan anticipated military action from China would escalate following Speaker Pelosi’s visit. It monitored the threat closely and prepared by running civil defense drills last week.
The Defense Ministry in Taiwan stated that it is ready to adapt as needed. “The three service branches will combine efforts with all the people to jointly safeguard national security and territorial integrity.”
U.S. National Security Council coordinator John Kirby stated on Monday, “We are clear that nothing has changed about our one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act. We do not support Taiwan’s independence.”
Speaker Pelosi released a contradictory statement following her meeting in Taiwan. Pelosi declared, “Our Congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as a strong statement that America stands with Taiwan. We came to Taiwan to listen to, learn from and show our support for the people of Taiwan, who have built a thriving Democracy that stands as one of the freest and most open in the world.”
No further details of China’s plans have been announced, but the military exercises are expected to end on Sunday.