Chinese missiles flew over Taiwan during drills — state media

A Chinese military vessel sails off Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 5, 2022. Taiwan blasted its "evil neighbor next door" on August 5 after China encircled the island with a series of huge military drills that were condemned by the US and other Western allies. (Photo: AFP)
BEIJING — During Beijing's latest military drills, state media reported on Friday, that Chinese missiles flew over Taiwan as the country pressed ahead with exercises encircling the island following a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.اضافة اعلان

Pelosi was the highest-profile US official to head to Taiwan in years, defying stark threats from Beijing, which views the self-ruled island as its territory.

China launched a series of exercises in multiple zones around Taiwan in response, straddling some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. 

Beijing is yet to formally confirm whether missiles overflew the islands during the drills, while Taipei has refused to confirm or deny the flight paths, citing intelligence concerns.

But Japan's defense ministry said of the nine missiles it had detected, four were "believed to have flown over Taiwan's main island."

And on Friday, a hashtag shared by state media asking, "what does it mean for the People's Liberation Army's conventional missiles to pass over Taiwan island?" attracted 43.7 million views on China's Twitter-like Weibo.

"Our exercises this time included live-firing tests, and it was the first time they crossed Taiwan island," Meng Xiangqing, a professor at China's military-affiliated National Defence University, told state broadcaster CCTV, lauding the accuracy of Beijing's capabilities. 

He added that they passed through airspace where Patriot missiles — a highly mobile surface-to-air missile system that would be a crucial defense against Chinese warplanes — are densely deployed.

The latest drills also represented the PLA's closest-ever exercises to the island, its first encirclement and the first time it set up a shooting range east of Taiwan, Meng said. 

China's official Xinhua news agency reported that the military "flew more than 100 warplanes including fighters and bombers" during the exercises, as well as "over ten destroyers and frigates."

The latest drills are expected to continue until midday Sunday and have sparked outrage from the US, Japan, and the European Union, as well as Taipei.
White House spokesman John Kirby called it an overreaction by China and a "pretext" to increase military activity around the Taiwan Strait.

China defends the drills as just countermeasures in the face of provocations by the US and its allies in Taiwan.

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