China has kicked off a third day of live-fire drills near Taiwan in response to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s recent trip to the United States.
Chinese fighter jets carried out “simulated strikes” near the self-governed island during the exercises, which also included the Shandong aircraft carrier, the Chinese military said on Monday.
Multiple batches of H-6K fighters carrying live ammunition … carried out multiple waves of simulated strikes on important targets on Taiwan Island,” the Eastern Theatre Command said in a statement.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said it had detected 70 Chinese military aircraft and 11 vessels around Taiwan.
“R.O.C. Armed Forces have monitored the situation and tasked CAP aircraft, Navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to respond [to] these activities,” the ministry said in a statement posted on social media, referring to Taiwan’s official name of the Republic of China.
The ministry said 35 of the detected aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered the territory’s air defence identification zone.
China’s military said the exercises were to practise “sealing off” of Taiwan, while state television said they had formed a “multidirectional island-encompassing blockade situation”.
Taiwan’s government has condemned the exercises, while the US has urged China to show restraint.
Meanwhile Japan on Monday said it had scrambled jets in recent days as a result of the drills. In a statement, Japan’s joint staff said it had observed the Shandong and several other Chinese naval vessels in the area south of Miyako island since Friday.
The vessels were spotted between 230 and 430 kilometres south of Miyako island, in the far south of Japan, the statement said.