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All-out war fears as China launches missiles directly over Taiwan - smoke trails fill sky

Daily Express logo Daily Express 04/08/2022 Rebecca Perring
china taiwan © PLA china taiwan

Xi Jinping flexed his military muscle as he launched unprecedented military drills in Taiwan a day after a visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi amid fears of all-out war. Soon after the scheduled start, China's state broadcaster CCTV said the drills had begun and would end on Sunday.

Tourists can be seen looking on as smoke trails from missiles launched by the Chinese military are seen in the sky from Pingtan Island.

It said the exercises, the largest ever by China in the Taiwan Strait, would include live firing on the waters and in the airspace surrounding Taiwan.

China's Eastern Theatre Command said it had completed multiple firings of conventional missiles on waters off the eastern coast of Taiwan as part of the planned exercises.

The last time China fired missiles into waters around Taiwan was in 1996.Link

china taiwan © PLA china taiwan

Taiwan's defence ministry said several Dongfeng missiles had been fired in waters to the northeast and southwest of the island.

Two missiles were also launched by China near Taiwan's Matsu islands, which lie off the coast of China, at around 2pm (local time) in the direction of drill zones announced by China, according to an internal Taiwan security report.

Taiwan officials have said the drills violate United Nations rules, invade Taiwan's territorial space and are a direct challenge to free air and sea navigation.

Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party said China was conducting drills on the busiest international waterways and aviation routes and that is "irresponsible, illegitimate behaviour".

Chinese navy ships and military aircraft briefly crossed the Taiwan Strait median line several times on Thursday morning.

By midday on Thursday, military vessels from both sides remained in the area and in close proximity.

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Taiwan scrambled jets and deployed missile systems to track multiple Chinese aircraft crossing the line.

A Taiwanese source said:"They flew in and then flew out, again and again. They continue to harass us."

China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory and reserves the right to take it by force, said on Thursday its differences with the self-ruled island were an internal affair.

It comes after China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi branded Ms Pelosi's visit to Taiwan a "manic, irresponsible and highly irrational" act by the US.

Wang, speaking at a meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, said China had made the utmost diplomatic effort to avert crisis, but would never allow its core interests to be hurt.

The foreign ministers in a statement had earlier warned that volatility caused by tensions in the Taiwan Strait could lead to "miscalculation, serious confrontation, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences among major powers".

China taiwan © GETTY China taiwan

Unusually, the drills in six areas around Taiwan were announced with a locator map circulated by China's official Xinhua news agency earlier this week.

In Beijing, security in the area around the US Embassy remained unusually tight on Thursday as it has been throughout this week. But there were no signs of significant protests or calls to boycott US products.

Ms Pelosi, the highest-level US visitor to Taiwan in 25 years, praised its democracy and pledged American solidarity during her brief stopover, warning Chinese anger could not stop world leaders from travelling there.

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