China begins live-fire military exercises in six zones around Taiwan, says state media – live | Taiwan

China’s military drills begin – reports

Helen Davidson

Helen Davidson

The Chinese military drills around Taiwan’s main island have started, according to Chinese state media.

At midday local time, state broadcaster CCTV said:

From 12:00 today to 12:00 [04:00 GMT] on the 7th, the People’s Liberation Army is conducting an important military training exercise and organized live fire.

During this actual combat exercises, six major areas around the island were selected and during this period all ships and aircraft should not enter the relevant sea areas and airspace.”

The six identified zones surround the island, and occasionally overlap with Taiwanese territorial waters. Some are also very close to key ports and Taiwanese authorities have accused the PLA of effectively conducting a blockade – a very serious accusation.

“The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army on Thursday conducted large-scale military exercises and training activities including live-fire drills around Taiwan island,” the broadcaster added.

Taiwan’s ministry of defense said its armed forces are “operating as usual” and monitoring surroundings. “We seek no escalation, but we don’t stand down when it comes to our security and sovereignty,” the ministry said.

The Chinese military drills around Taiwan’s main island have started, according to Chinese state media.

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At midday local time, state broadcaster CCTV said:

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From 12:00 today to 12:00 [04:00 GMT] on the 7th, the People’s Liberation Army is conducting an important military training exercise and organised live fire.

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During this actual combat exercises, six major areas around the island were selected and during this period all ships and aircraft should not enter the relevant sea areas and airspace.”

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The six identified zones surround the island, and occasionally overlap with Taiwanese territorial waters. Some are also very close to key ports and Taiwanese authorities have accused the PLA of effectively conducting a blockade – a very serious accusation.

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“The Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army on Thursday conducted large-scale military exercises and training activities including live-fire drills around Taiwan island,” the broadcaster added.

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Taiwan’s ministry of defence said its armed forces are “operating as usual” and monitoring surroundings. “We seek no escalation, but we don’t stand down when it comes to our security and sovereignty,” the ministry said.

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Southeast Asia’s regional bloc Asean has warned that an increase in international and regional volatility could lead to “miscalculation, serious confrontation, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences among major powers”.

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations made the remarks in a statement from foreign ministers after the bloc’s chair Cambodia had called on all sides to de-escalate tensions over Taiwan.

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The statement was released as China’s foreign minister Wang Yi met with his Asean counterparts in Phnom Penh.

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China’s ambassador to France has said the Taiwanese people would be “reeducated” after any successful annexation by China, in a fiery interview on French television.

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The ambassador, Lu Shaye, accused Taiwan’s governing Democratic Progressive Party of conducting “extremist” propaganda and turning the Taiwanese people against “reunification” with China.

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We will re-educate. I’m sure that…the Taiwanese population will again become favourable of the reunification, and will become patriots again,” he said.

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Online, many observers noted the term “reeducation” is also used to describe Chinese authorities treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslims in Xinjiang.

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There, authorities have sent an estimated 1-2 million people through what Beijing terms as “vocational education and training centres”.

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Human rights groups and other governments say they are in fact part of a massive detention network. Lu denied the re-education would happen under threat, comparing it to French education of students on the values of its republic.

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Challenged by the interviewer that Beijing wanted to have people thinking “correctly” in line with its own position because it did not like resistance, Lu said resistance “is not…the problem”.

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“The Taiwanese authorities apply an approach of… how should I say… slicing the salami – advancing bit by bit. If we don’t react, if we don’t respond, in the end they will achieve their goal: independence.”

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Lu said “the majority” of Taiwan’s population were in favour of formally becoming a part of China just one or two decades ago. It wasn’t clear what his claim was based on.

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An analysis of dozens of polls conducted by various organisations between 1994 and 2000 show that only on two occasions have a majority of respondents supported unification. Both were polls conducted by the policy council of the current opposition Kuomintang party, in 2000.

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All other polls showed support between 15 and 30%.Recent polling has found support for unification to be at record lows. One poll conducted by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Centre (ESC) in June found just 1.3% of respondents wanted unification “as soon as possible”, and 5.2% wanted to maintain the status quo before an eventual “move toward unification,”.

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China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has called US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan a “complete farce”.

“The irreversible historical trend of Taiwan’s return to the motherland cannot be changed. Those who offend China will surely be punished,” he said.

Wang made the remarks on the sidelines of the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Cambodia on Wednesday.

The United States is violating China’s sovereignty under the guise of “democracy,” he told reporters.

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Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen and others ride the coattails of the United States and act against the noble cause of the Chinese nation.

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These perverse actions will not alter the international consensus on the one-China principle, nor the historical trend that Taiwan will return to the motherland.”

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Taiwan has pledged to step up security against possible disruptions by “overseas forces” including cyber attacks as tensions with China rise following Pelosi’s visit to Tapei on Wednesday.

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Taiwan Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng told a media briefing authorities had stepped security at key infrastructure including power plants and airports and increased the cyber security alertness level across government offices, according to a report from Reuters.

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Lo said Taiwan expects to be the target in coming days of increased “psychological warfare”, which describes influence campaigns including misinformation to sway public opinion.

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We are seeing psychological warfare that is stronger than ever before, and it will intensify in the coming days,” Lo said.

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Taiwan officials have repeatedly warned about what they see as a Chinese campaign to weaken people’s support for the government.

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Digital minister Audrey Tang said cyber attacks on Taiwan government units on Tuesday surpassed 15,000 gigabits, 23 times higher than the previous daily record.

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Several government websites including the presidential office were subject to overseas cyber attacks, some of which authorities said were launched by China and Russia.

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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Seoul on Wednesday night where she is scheduled to meet with South Korea’s National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo and leaders of the ruling conservative People Power Party, as well as the opposition Democratic Party of Korea.

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Earlier reports suggested South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol had no plans to meet with the senior US official as he is currently on a summer holiday.

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However, Yonhap news agency is now reporting that Yoon will speak by phone with Pelosi during her visit.

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The Taiwan defence ministry has said its website suffered cyber attacks and went offline temporarily on Thursday, adding it is working closely with other authorities to enhance cyber security as tensions with China rise.

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Earlier this week, several government websites, including the presidential office, were subject to overseas cyber attacks, some of which authorities said were launched by China and Russia.

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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi concluded her visit to Taiwan on Wednesday with a pledge that the American commitment to democracy on the self-governing island and elsewhere “remains ironclad.”

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Pelosi received a euphoric welcome as the first US House speaker to visit in more than 25 years.

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Before leaving, a calm but resolute Pelosi repeated previous remarks about the world facing “a choice between democracy and autocracy.”

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America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad,” she said.

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The Biden administration, and Pelosi, have said that the United States remains committed to the so-called one-China policy, which recognises Beijing but allows informal relations and defence ties with Taipei.

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Thanking Pelosi for her decades of support for Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen presented her with a civilian honour, the Order of the Propitious Clouds.

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Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Thursday that unidentified aircraft, probably drones, had flown on Wednesday night above the area of its Kinmen islands, which are just off the southeastern coast of China, and that it had fired flares to drive them away.

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A senior military official at Taiwan’s outlying Kinmen islands added that the situation is “normal” on the islands, including it military alertness level, according to a recent Reuters report.

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fires flares to drive away drones near Kinmen islands”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 4 Aug 2022 02.27 EDT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Wed 3 Aug 2022 18.53 EDT”},{“id”:”62eb0a758f0892e28b4ab62b”,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

The world’s most powerful democracies have slammed China for “increasing tensions and destabilising the region” over its response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

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The G7’s top diplomats on Wednesday said they were “concerned by recent and announced threatening actions by the People’s Republic of China, particularly live-fire exercises and economic coercion, which risk unnecessary escalation”.

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The statement from the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and the EU, read:

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There is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait. It is normal and routine for legislators from our countries to travel internationally.

n

The PRC’s escalatory response risks increasing tensions and destabilising the region.

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It urged China not to “unilaterally change the status quo by force in the region, and to resolve cross-strait differences by peaceful means”.

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They also made clear there was “no change in the respective one-China policies, where applicable, and basic positions on Taiwan of the G7 members”.

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n

[We] encourage all parties to remain calm, exercise restraint, act with transparency, and maintain open lines of communication to prevent misunderstanding.”

n

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Following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s high-profile visit to Taiwan, the senior US official arrived in Seoul on Wednesday night as part of her Asian tour.

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The congresswoman, who is second in line to the US presidency, will on Thursday meet South Korea’s National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo and leaders of the ruling conservative People Power Party, as well as the opposition Democratic Party of Korea.

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However, South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol has no plans to meet Pelosi as he is currently on a summer holiday, an official at the presidential office told SCMP.

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The official denied earlier press reports that Yoon, who is taking a break at his home in Seoul, may head out to receive Pelosi.

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In the first place, there was no such a plan (for Yoon’s meeting with Pelosi) as the president’s vacation schedule coincides with her visit here.”

n

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The presidential office “welcomes” Pelosi’s visit to South Korea and it hopes her talks with National Assembly Speaker Kim will be productive, the official said.

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Asked about Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan, she said: “Our government’s stance is that we will maintain close communication with the nations concerned on all issues under the banner of the need for peace and stability in the region through dialogue and cooperation.”

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Speculation mounted on social media.

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“Because of vacation? No way. Yoon is not meeting Pelosi as he is nunchi-ing around China,” one post read. Had this happened to Yoon’s predecessor – liberal former president Moon Jae-in – conservatives and news media would have “raised hell with it” and accused Moon of nunchi-ing around Beijing, the post added.

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The former Chinese ambassador to the UK issued a scathing statement overnight, warning the US to stop obstructing China’s “great cause of reunification” and describing the process as a “historical inevitability”.

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Liu Xiao Ming said:

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n

The United States should not fantasise about obstructing China’s great cause of reunification. Taiwan is part of China.

n

Realising complete national reunification is the general trend and a historical inevitability. We will never leave any space for ‘Taiwan independence’ split and interference from external forces.

n

No matter what way the US supports and condones ‘Taiwan independence’, it will ultimately be a sham, and it will only leave more ugly records of the US grossly interfering in other countries’ internal affairs in history.

n

The Taiwan issue was born out of the country’s weakness and chaos, and it will surely end with the rejuvenation of the nation in the future.”

n

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n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/AmbLiuXiaoMing/status/1554837161664323584″,”id”:”1554837161664323584″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”a752a469-401c-4581-bb5f-b998eacf196b”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1659567184000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”18.53 EDT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1659568193000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”19.09 EDT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1659568194000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”19.09 EDT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”19.09″,”title”:”China claiming Taiwan’s territory a ‘historical inevitability’, former ambassador to UK says”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 4 Aug 2022 02.27 EDT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Wed 3 Aug 2022 18.53 EDT”},{“id”:”62eaf59b8f0878ca99e20a3d”,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of tensions between China and Taiwan.

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I’m Samantha Lock and I will be bringing you all the latest developments.

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It is approaching 7am in Beijing. Here is everything you might have missed:

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    n

  • China is to begin a series of unprecedented live-fire drills that would effectively blockade the island of Taiwan, just hours after the departure of US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, whose controversial visit this week has sparked fears of a crisis in the Taiwan strait.
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  • Taiwan has characterised the drills as a violation of international law. The drills will last until Sunday afternoon – and will include missile tests and other “military operations” as close as nine miles to Taiwan’s coastline.
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  • Ahead of the drill, Taiwan said 27 Chinese warplanes had entered its air defence zone.
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  • Pelosi arrived in Taipei on Tuesday night under intense global scrutiny, and was met by the foreign minister Joseph Wu and the US representative in Taiwan, Sandra Oudkirk.
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  • Pelosi addressed Taiwan’s parliament on Wednesday before having public and private meetings with the president, Tsai Ing-wen. “Our delegation came to Taiwan to make unequivocally clear we will not abandon Taiwan, and we are proud of our enduring friendship,” she said, adding that US solidarity with Taiwan was “crucial” in facing an increasingly authoritarian China.
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  • In a later statement, she said China could not prevent world leaders from travelling to Taiwan “to pay respect to its flourishing democracy”.
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  • Pelosi’s trip generated condemnation from Beijing and sparked fears of a new Taiwan strait crisis.
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  • China vowed “consequences” and announced military exercises in waters around the island on Thursday to show its dissatisfaction.
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  • Taiwan’s defence ministry accused Beijing of planning to violate the international convention on the law of sea, by breaching Taiwan’s sovereign territory.
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  • Taiwanese authorities have said the proximity to some major ports combined with orders for all aircraft and sea vessels to steer clear of the area amount to a blockade.
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  • While China’s military often holds live-fire exercises in the strait and surrounding seas, those planned for this week encircle Taiwan’s main island and target areas within its territorial sea.
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Key events

Reuters is carrying some quotes from a Taiwanese official, who says he spoke to them on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue. The official describes today’s events so far, saying about 10 Chinese navy ships briefly crossed the median line before they were “driven away” by Taiwanese navy boats.

“They sneaked in, and were driven away by us,” the Taiwanese source said.

Multiple Chinese air force planes briefly crossed the median line several times on Thursday morning, forcing Taiwan to scramble jets and deploy missile systems to track their movement, the person said.

“They flew in and then they flew out, again and again. They continue to harass us and increase our air defense pressure.”

Chinese state media outlets are reporting Beijing conducted long-range artillery live-fire shooting drills in the Taiwan Straitsnoting that “expected results have been achieved”.

“PLA Eastern Theater Command Army conducted long-range artillery live-fire shooting drills in the Taiwan Straits, striking targets on the eastern side of the Straits and achieving the expected outcome,” China’s Global Times reported.

“The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted long-range live-fire shooting training in the Taiwan Straits on Thursday at around 1:00 pm and carried out precision strikes on specific areas in the eastern part of the Taiwan Straits,” state broadcaster CGTN added.

“The PLA Eastern Theater Command said that expected results had been achieved.”

A TV screen shows that China's People's Liberation Army has begun military exercises including live firing on the waters and in the airspace surrounding Taiwan.
A TV screen shows that China’s People’s Liberation Army has begun military exercises including live firing on the waters and in the airspace surrounding Taiwan. Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi earlier described US house speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as a “complete farce” at meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Cambodia.

“The irreversible historical trend of Taiwan’s return to the motherland cannot be changed. Those who offend China will surely be punished,” he said.

You can watch Wang Yi’s remarks in the video below.

‘Outright farce’: Chinese foreign minister on Pelosi’s Taiwan visit – video

China’s military drills in the north, east and south areas bisect Taiwan’s claimed 12 nautical miles of territorial waters and encircle the island in an “unprecedented formation” a Chinese military professor has said.

Meng Xiangqing, a professor at the National Defense University, told Chinese state television, the locations could provide a snapshot as to how an actual military operation against Taiwan could play out.

“In fact, this has created very good conditions for us when, in the future, we reshape our strategic landscape conducive to our unification,” Meng said, according to a Reuters report.

Chinese forces in two areas off the northern coast of Taiwan could potentially seal off Keelung, a major port, while strikes could be launched from an area east of Taiwan targeting the military bases in Hualien and Taidong, he said.

The “doors” to Kaoshiung could also be closed by Chinese military off the southwestern coast, Meng added.

Here are some of the latest images showing Chinese military helicopters flying past China’s mainland ahead of military drills off Taiwan this afternoon.

A Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest points from Taiwan ahead of massive military drills off the island.
A Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest points from Taiwan ahead of massive military drills off the island. Photograph: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
A Chinese military helicopter seen in the sky above Pingtan island in Fujian province.
A Chinese military helicopter seen in the sky above Pingtan island in Fujian province. Photograph: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
Chinese military helicopters seen as China launches massive military drills off Taiwan on Thursday.
Chinese military helicopters seen as China launches massive military drills off Taiwan on Thursday. Photograph: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
Tourists look on as a Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island.
Tourists look on as a Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island. Photograph: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has called US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan a “manic, irresponsible and highly irrational” action by the United States, state broadcaster CCTV is reporting.

Wang, speaking at the Asean foreign ministers meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, said China has made the “greatest diplomatic efforts” to avert crisis, but will never allow its core interests to be hurt.

China’s and future measures are necessary and timely defensive current countermeasures, carefully considered and evaluated, aimed at safeguarding national sovereignty and security, in line with international and domestic law, CCTV cited Wang as saying.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has thanked the Group of Seven (G7) nations for supporting regional peace and stability after the group called on China to resolve tensions in the Taiwan Strait in a peaceful manner.

Tsai, in a Twitter post, wrote:

Taiwan is committed to defending the status quo and our hard-earned democracy.

We’ll work with like-minded partners to maintain a free & open Indo-Pacific.”

Rebecca Ratcliffe

Rebecca Ratcliffe

Our south-east Asia correspondent, Rebecca Ratcliffe, has some more details surrounding comments made by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as foreign ministers meet in Cambodia today.

Foreign ministers from the 10-member bloc have called for “maximum restraint” regarding the Taiwan Strait, warning the situation could lead to “serious confrontation, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences among major powers.”

The bloc, which is currently gathering in Phnom Penh, said in a joint statement that it is “concerned with the international and regional volatility, especially in the recent development in the area adjacent with the Asean region, which could destabilize the region and eventually could lead to miscalculation, serious confrontation, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences among major powers.”

“Asean calls for maximum restraint, refrain from provocative action,” it added, without mentioning the US or China by name.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and his American counterpart Antony Blinken are both visiting Cambodia for talks with Asean ministers. However, they reportedly have no plans to meet together.

While some Asean members, including host country Cambodia, have close ties to Beijing, others are concerned by China’s growing assertiveness, including in the South China Sea.

The world is in dire need of wisdom and responsibility of all leaders to uphold multilateralism and partnership, cooperation, peaceful-coexistence and healthy competition for our shared goals of peace, stability, security and inclusive and sustainable development,” the Asean statement said. It also reiterated “Asean member states’ support for their respective One-China Policy”.

We have a little more detail on how Taiwan is responding to the drills which began just after midday on Thursday.

Ten minutes before the drills were due to begin, Taiwan’s department of defense issued a statement accusing the Chinese government of “irrational behaviour” with its live-fire exercises.

The exercises had “the intention of changing the status quo and disrupting regional peace and stability”, it said.

“The national army will continue to strengthen its alert, and troops at all levels will conduct daily training.”

#ROCArmdForces are operating as usual and monitor our surroundings in response to irrational activities from PRC, aiming for changing the status quo & destabilizing the region's security. We seek no escalation, but we don't stand down when it comes to our security and sovereignty

— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) August 4, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/MoNDefense/status/1555046182472536065″,”id”:”1555046182472536065″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”5eae21ab-deee-48d5-96c1-5d2a05fd1caf”}}”>

#ROCARmdForces are operating as usual and monitor our surroundings in response to irrational activities from PRC, aiming for changing the status quo & destabilizing the region’s security. We seek no escalation, but we don’t stand down when it comes to our security and sovereignty

— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, ROC 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) August 4, 2022

Meanwhile, the US Navy has said the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier was conducting scheduled operations in the Philippine Sea in the Western Pacific, a 5.7m square kilometer (2.2m square mile) stretch of ocean that includes waters southeast of Taiwan.

“USS Ronald Reagan and her strike group are underway in the Philippine Sea continuing normal, scheduled operations as part of her routine patrol in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” a US Navy Seventh Fleet spokesperson said, as reported by Reuters news agency.

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