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China sends warships, jets close to Taiwan as tensions escalate

China's first aircraft carrier, which was renovated from an old aircraft carrier that China bought from Ukraine in 1998. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

China's first aircraft carrier, which was renovated from an old aircraft carrier that China bought from Ukraine in 1998. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

Published Aug 5, 2022

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Taipei - Taiwan's Defence Ministry on Friday said that Chinese warships and aircraft conducted military drills in waters near the island, as tensions escalated in the region following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit earlier this week.

In a statement, the Ministry said that China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces crossed the median line — the halfway point between the island and mainland China — in a move it called a “highly provocative act”, reports CNN.

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The line has previously been an informal but largely respected border of control between Beijing and Taipei.

Taiwan's military responded with radio warnings and put air patrol forces, naval ships and shore-based missile systems on alert, the Ministry added.

On Friday, Taiwan's Premier Su Tseng-chang said the island represented “freedom and democracy”, and that “the evil neighbour next door flexed its muscles on our doorstep and arbitrarily sabotaged (one of) the busiest waterways in the world with military exercises”.

The skies and waters around Taiwan have become a focal point as Beijing ramps up tensions not only with Taiwan, but with neighbouring Japan, which lodged a formal protest with China after five projectiles landed in Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The missiles were among a number launched by Beijing Thursday, some of which flew over Taiwan, as Pelosi made her way to Tokyo where she met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday, CNN reported.

IANS

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