Chinese warships and aircraft conducted military drills in waters near Taiwan Friday, the island’s Defense Ministry said, as tensions escalated in the region following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island this week.
The ministry said Chinese 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.”
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 neighbor 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 neighboring 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 with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday.
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