Pelosi met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday morning, and her attention turned to the Taiwan Strait, where China is conducting air and sea drills to protest the US president’s visit to Taiwan earlier in the day. This week.
China has previously fired missiles into the waters surrounding Taiwan, a democratic island of 24 million that the Chinese Communist Party considers its territory, even though it has never controlled it, most notably during the Taiwan Strait Crisis in the 1990s. 1990.
But the missiles flying over the island marked a significant escalation, with US officials warning there may be more to come.
“We anticipate that China could take measures like this; in fact, I described them to you in quite some detail the other day,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, told reporters at the White House on Thursday. . “We also expect that these actions will continue and that the Chinese will continue to react in the coming days.”
A US aircraft carrier will remain in the area around Taiwan for several more days to “monitor the situation,” Kirby added.
Missiles pose ‘no risk’
China began military exercises around the island on Thursday, firing multiple missiles into waters off the northeast and southwest of Taiwan the day after Pelosi left.
A Chinese military expert confirmed on state broadcaster CCTV that the conventional missiles flew over the main island of Taiwan, including the airspace covered by Taiwanese defense missiles.
“We hit the targets under the observation of the US Aegis combat system, which means the Chinese military has solved the difficulties of hitting long-range targets in the waters,” said Maj. Gen. Meng Xiangqing, professor of strategy at the National Defense University. in Beijing.
In a statement Thursday night, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the missiles had traveled above the atmosphere and therefore posed no risk to the island.
Authorities did not issue air strike alerts because they predicted the missiles would land in waters east of Taiwan, the ministry said. The ministry added that it will not release any more information about the trajectory of the missiles to protect its intelligence-gathering capabilities.
Five ballistic missiles are believed to have landed inside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, including four believed to have flown over Taiwan, Japan’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
“This is a serious problem that concerns the security of Japan and the security of its citizens. We strongly condemn it,” Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters during a news conference.
China also sent 22 fighter jets to Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Thursday, all of which crossed the median line that marks the midpoint between the island and mainland China over the Taiwan Strait.
It follows similar Chinese incursions a day earlier across the median line that had previously been an informally controlled but largely respected border between Beijing and Taipei.
Thursday’s raids were carried out by 12 SU-30 fighter jets, eight J-11 fighter jets and two J-16 fighter jets, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Later Thursday, the ministry said it detected four drones flying over “restricted waters” around the Taiwan-controlled Kinmen Islands near mainland China. The ministry said Taiwan’s military fired flares to warn the drones, but did not specify the type or origin of the devices.
In a speech on Thursday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen condemned China’s military exercises as “irresponsible” and said they marked a “deliberate and continuous escalation of military threats.”
“I must emphasize that we do not seek to escalate conflicts or provoke disputes, but rather we will firmly defend our sovereignty and national security, as well as safeguard democracy and freedom,” he added.
He also thanked the Group of Seven, made up of the world’s largest economies, which issued a statement on Wednesday expressing concern over China’s live-fire exercises and urging Beijing not to change the status quo in the region.
The exercises have also caused disruption to flight and ship schedules, with some international flights canceled and ships being urged to use alternate routes to various ports around the island.
On Tuesday, the Chinese Defense Ministry said it would hold its exercises in six zones around Taiwan, warning ships and planes to stay out of the areas during the exercises.
The Taiwan Strait is a key trade route for ships carrying goods between major Northeast Asian economies, such as China, Japan and South Korea, and the rest of the world.
CNN’s Gawon Bae and Yong Xiong in Seoul, Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo, Laura He in Hong Kong, Eric Cheung in Taipei and Sam Fossum in Washington contributed to this report.