August 10, 2022

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Chinese and Taiwanese warships look at each other as exercises near the end

Chinese and Taiwanese warships look at each other as exercises near the end

  • Chinese and Taiwanese ships circling the high seas “Cat and Mouse”
  • Four days of Chinese training scheduled to end at midday
  • China warns the United States against creating a bigger crisis

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Chinese and Taiwanese warships played a game of “cat and mouse” on the high seas on Sunday, hours before the scheduled completion of four days of unprecedented Chinese military exercises that began in response to the US House Speaker’s visit to Taiwan. .

Nancy Pelosi’s visit last week to the self-governing island infuriated China, which responded by firing test ballistic missiles over the island’s capital for the first time, cutting ties with the United States.

About 10 warships from both China and Taiwan sailed from nearby places in the Taiwan Strait, with some Chinese ships crossing the center line, an unofficial barrier separating the two sides, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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While Chinese forces “pressed” the line, as they did on Saturday, the Taiwanese side kept close watch and, where possible, denied the Chinese the ability to cross.

“Both sides are showing restraint, describing the maneuvers as ‘cat and mouse’ on the high seas,” the source said.

“One side tries to cross, the other gets in their way and forces them into a more disadvantaged situation and eventually return to the other side.”

Taiwan said its shore-based anti-ship missiles and Patriot surface-to-air missiles were on standby.

The Chinese exercises, stationed at six locations across the island, began on Thursday and are scheduled to continue until midday Sunday. The Chinese military said Saturday that it is conducting joint naval and air exercises in north, southwest and east Taiwan, with a focus on testing ground strike and sea attack capabilities.

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The United States described the exercises as an escalation.

“These activities are a significant escalation in China’s efforts to change the status quo. They are provocative and irresponsible and raise the risk of miscalculation,” a White House spokesman said.

They are also at odds with our long-term goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which is what the world expects.

‘destroying peace’

China has suspended communication via various channels with the United States as part of its response to Pelosi’s visit, including between the leaders of the military theater and climate change.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken accused China of taking “irresponsible” steps and away from prioritizing a peaceful solution toward the use of force. Read more

Taiwan’s military said on Saturday that Chinese ships and planes participating in the exercises were launching a simulated attack on the island, which China claims as its territory.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry later said its forces scrambled planes to warn 20 Chinese planes, including 14 that crossed the center line. It also spotted 14 Chinese ships carrying out activities around the Taiwan Strait.

The ministry released a photo showing Taiwan sailors keeping a close eye on a nearby Chinese ship.

Taiwanese forces on Friday fired flares to warn drones flying over the Kinmen Islands and unidentified aircraft flying over the Matsu Islands. Both island groups are close to the coast of China.

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“Chinese military exercises unilaterally changed the current situation in the region and seriously damaged peace in the Taiwan Strait,” the ministry said.

Don’t act rashly

Pelosi, a longtime Chinese critic and political ally of US President Joe Biden, arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday in the highest-level visit of a US official to the island in decades, despite Chinese warnings. She said her visit demonstrates the United States’ unwavering commitment to supporting democracy in Taiwan.

“The world faces a choice between absolutism and democracy,” she said. She also stressed that her trip “is not about changing the status quo in Taiwan or the region.” Read more

Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s communists took power in Beijing after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang nationalists in a civil war, forcing them to retreat to the island.

China says its relations with Taiwan are an internal affair and reserves the right to bring the island under its control by force if necessary. Taiwan rejects China’s claims, saying that only the people of Taiwan can decide their own future.

Speaking during a visit to the Philippines, Blinken said the United States had been hearing allies’ concerns about what he described as China’s dangerous and destabilizing actions, but that Washington had sought to avoid an escalation of the situation.

He said that China’s suspension of bilateral dialogue in eight major areas will punish the world.

China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, told a news briefing on Friday that Blinken was spreading “false information,” adding: “We want to send a warning to the United States: Don’t act recklessly, and don’t create a bigger crisis.”

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China did not mention suspending military talks at the highest levels, such as with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley. While such conversations have been rare, officials said they are important in the event of an emergency.

Japan’s Defense Ministry said it was finally seeking that five of the nine missiles fired toward its territory landed in its exclusive economic zone.

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Additional reporting by Yimo Lee in Taipei, David Bronstrom in Manila, Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Meg Shen in Hong Kong, Jeff Mason in Washington; Additional reporting by Ryan Wu. Writing by Tony Munro and Greg Torode; Editing by Robert Persell

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.