The Chinese army’s military exercises around the island of Taiwan continued on Wednesday with a simulated naval blockade and various sea, land and air maneuvers. Stealth jets and hypersonic missiles are also said to have been used.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has launched large-scale military exercises off the island in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. These include “the use of advanced weapons,” including state-of-the-art DF-17 hypersonic missiles, according to the Chinese newspaper GlobalTimes.
The ongoing drills include “a blockade of the island, a sea attack, and land and air combat drills,” the state-run media outlet reported on Wednesday, adding that Chinese J-20 stealth aircraft are also taking part in the drills.
“The People’s Liberation Army will not sit idly by” – China warns the US in a new video
At the start of the main phase on Thursday, the paper called the drills “unprecedented,” adding that Chinese missiles are expected to “fly over the island of Taiwan for the first time.” People’s Liberation Army forces are expected to enter the area within 12 nautical miles of the island and may “completely surround the island,” the newspaper added, citing military experts.
The East Command of the Chinese Armed Forces said on Wednesday that forces involved in the exercise had already conducted “realistic combat-oriented” drills north, southwest and southeast of the island.
According to the news agency Xinhua the maneuvers should last at least until Sunday noon. These would include “real-time fire drills in six major sea areas and their airspace around the island of Taiwan.”
The one from the GlobalTimes DF-17 missiles mentioned on Wednesday were first publicly demonstrated in action by the Chinese military on July 31, 2022. At the time, an official video celebrating the 95th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army launched a rocket that Chinese media dubbed the “aircraft carrier killer.”
The DF-17 Dongfeng (in English: east wind) is said to use a hypersonic aircraft as warhead, which flies five times faster than the speed of sound and has an “erratic trajectory”. According to the GlobalTimes the missile is particularly good at hitting slow targets like aircraft carriers.
Chinese Foreign Ministry: Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is a serious violation of One China policy
The news of the use of these missiles comes after tensions around Taiwan escalated. On Tuesday, Pelosi visited the island, which Beijing considers part of Chinese sovereignty. The speaker of the US House of Representatives, who is third on the US presidential list, is the highest-ranking US official to visit the self-governing Chinese island since 1997. Beijing had previously repeatedly protested against this step, calling it a provocation.
Beijing responded to Pelosi’s Taiwan trip with military exercises around the island and warned the US that the visit would have “serious implications” for bilateral relations between Beijing and Washington.
Since 1949, Taiwan has been ruled by the nationalists, who were defeated in the Chinese civil war and evacuated from the mainland with the help of the United States. The government in Taipei describes itself as the Republic of China and has never officially declared independence. The White House has unofficially close ties with Taipei, including arms sales, although Washington officially recognizes Beijing as the sole legitimate authority in China.
more on the subject – What does the Global South think of Pelosi’s visit? – a small press review