Taiwan’s defense ministry said ahead of China’s military exercises on Thursday morning that some of the PLA’s exercises involve 12 nautical miles of sea and air space on the island.
China has begun another series of military exercises around Taiwan as tensions continue to rise following a 24-hour visit to the island by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sky News reports.
Chinese state media say the exercise continues hours after alleged drones flew over Taiwanese territory on Wednesday and hackers attacked the Taiwan Defense Ministry’s website.
Before the start of military exercises on Thursday morning, Taipei said some of the Chinese military’s exercises would take place in its 12 nautical mile sea and air area.
This has never happened before, and a senior ministry official called the possible move “the equivalent of a sea and air blockade of Taiwan.”
China’s Xinhua news agency said the exercise, which included live firing, would take place in six areas that surround Taiwan.
This came after the Chinese foreign minister called US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan “manic, irresponsible and highly irrational.”
Ahead of the latest series of Chinese exercises, Taiwan said it would respond by strengthening its self-defense capabilities and coordinating closely with the United States and like-minded countries. Taipei also said its military is closely monitoring the situation in the strait between the island and mainland China.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry added that it will “appropriately respond” to enemy behavior in order to “protect national security and sovereignty.”
Taiwan was put on alert while China held military exercises in response to a 24-hour visit by Nancy Pelosi, the most senior US politician to visit the island in 25 years.
China considers the island of Taiwan part of its territory and opposes any contact between Taiwanese officials and foreign governments.
On Thursday, Major General Chang Zongsun of the Taiwanese army said that a pair of alleged drones flew into the Kinmen Islands region on Wednesday evening. The heavily fortified islands administered by Taiwan lie off the southeast coast of China near the city of Xiamen.
“We immediately fired flares to warn and drive them away. After that, they turned around. They entered our restricted area, so we drove them away,” Major General Chang said. “We have a standard operating procedure. We will respond if they appear,” he continued.
Major General Chan said he believed the drones were intended to gather intelligence about the deployment of Taiwan’s security forces to its outlying islands.
Meanwhile, the Taiwan Ministry of Defense said it was working closely with other authorities to improve cyber security after hackers attacked the military department’s website and temporarily took it down.
The cyberattack comes after several government websites in Taiwan, including the president’s office, were attacked earlier this week.
Taiwanese authorities said some of the attacks were allegedly carried out by China and Russia, Sky News reports.
The ongoing cyberattacks on government websites “have not caused any damage so far,” a Taiwanese cabinet spokesman said. The Taiwanese government is now urging the island’s companies to beef up their cybersecurity in the coming days as authorities see a record number of attacks on their websites amid escalating tensions with China.
Earlier Wednesday, Taiwan scrambled fighter jets to prevent 27 Chinese aircraft from entering its air defense zone, the island’s defense ministry said, adding that 22 of them crossed the median line separating the island from China. Aircraft from either side do not normally cross the median line.
This happened before the Taiwan Affairs Administration of China stated that the punishment of pro-Taiwan independence supporters and outside forces was reasonable and legal. The Beijing office added that the Taiwan issue is not a “regional” issue, but an internal affair of China.
China’s state media reported that a suspected Taiwanese separatist was detained by state security agencies in east China’s Zhejiang province on Wednesday on suspicion of endangering national security.
Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi ended her visit to Taiwan on Wednesday with a promise that the US commitment to democracy on the island and elsewhere “remains unwavering.”
Source From: MK