Tensions escalate as China fires missiles around Taiwan

Credit: China’s Ministry of National Defense

By Anadolu Agency

In a show of power and anger against US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, the Chinese military Thursday launched missiles around the self-ruled island.

The Rocket Force of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched “multiple types of conventional missiles into several designated sea regions east of Taiwan, accurately hitting targets,” state-run Chinese daily Global Times reported.

“The missile launches tested the rocket force’s strike precision and area denial capabilities,” the PLA spokesperson said, adding that the “relevant sea and airspace control off the eastern coast of Taiwan island has been lifted since the live-fire missile drills have hit the targets precisely.”

Tan Kefei, a spokesman of China’s Ministry of National Defense, said: “The PLA’s words count. The PLA joint drills encircling the Taiwan island are exactly aimed to deter the collision between the US and the island.”

Several videos on social media showed smoke billowing out of the southernmost tips of the Chinese mainland that appear to be a spot of Chinese weaponry from where the missiles are being fired.

Hectic land, air, and naval activities were reported from Pingtan Island, one of mainland China’s closest points to Taiwan, in the Fujian province.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry confirmed that the Chinese military had launched “several ballistic” and “long-range” missiles into waters around Taiwan’s northeast and southwest around 1.56 p.m. (0556GMT).

It said its armed forces are “operating as usual and monitor our surroundings in response to irrational activities” from China “aiming for changing the status quo and destabilizing the region’s security.”

“We seek no escalation, but we don’t stand down when it comes to our security and sovereignty,” the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said.