China insisted on Wednesday that its military exercises around the Taiwan Strait were “necessary and justified” in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing island.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing, “Chinese military exercises at sea near Taiwan is a necessary and appropriate measure to protect national sovereignty.”
“In the current conflict surrounding Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the United States is the provocateur, China is the victim. Joint provocation by the US and Taiwan came first, China’s proper defense.”
Chinese leaders have expressed anger at Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, calling it a threat to the fragile cross-strait status quo.
In response, China has announced a series of live-fire military exercises around Taiwan, with Eastern Theater Command saying “joint naval and airfields in the northern, southwestern and southeastern seas and airspaces of the island”. Air exercises will be conducted”.
It is also scheduled to begin further live-fire military exercises on Thursday in areas that surround Taiwan – at some points within just 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the island’s coast.
The exercise will include “long-range ammunition shooting” in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from mainland China and spans important shipping lanes.
Taipei’s defense ministry has warned that the plans threaten major ports and urban areas.
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