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Taiwan braces for impact from China military drills
Drills

Taiwan braces for impact from China military drills

04.08.2022
The drills are set to last for 72 hours before winding up on Sunday
Tourists look on as a Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest point from Taiwan, on Thursday
Tourists look on as a Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest point from Taiwan, on Thursday
Photo credit: AFP

Taiwan braced for the impact of Chinese military drills starting at noon on Thursday in six separate areas surrounding the island, while downplaying the impact on flights and shipping.

Inbound and outbound flights will use alternative air routes via Japan and the Philippines during the drills, which are set to last for 72 hours before winding up on Sunday, according to Taiwan Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai. Ships will be able to avoid the exclusion zones announced by China, he said.

“Shipping is different from air traffic as there is no fixed route - it’s freerer,” Wang told reporters at a briefing late on Wednesday. “So what’s done in the past is to avoid the areas where drills will take place.”

China earlier this week warned airlines to avoid “danger zones” around Taiwan after it announced large-scale military drills and missile tests around the island in response to a visit from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The American politician vowed the US wouldn’t abandon Taiwan during a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei on Wednesday during a visit that lasted less than 24 hours.

President Xi Jinping is under pressure to give a strong response to the trip, particularly after some Chinese nationalists were disappointed that Beijing wasn’t able to deter Pelosi from visiting. She is holding meetings in South Korea on Thursday before heading next to Japan. 

On Wednesday, 27 Chinese military aircraft were detected around Taiwan’s airspace, with 22 crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait - the most since the island began making the manoeuvers public in 2020.

Taiwan’s military said it warned off Chinese army drones flying over Kinmen and nearby Taiwan-administered Beiding island - both which sit close to the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen - on Wednesday night. The island’s Defence Ministry has denounced China’s drills as “armed intimidation” and pledged to respond at the appropriate time. 

China’s national security agency separately detained a Taiwanese man for long-time advocating “Taiwan independence” and founding “Taiwan Nationalist Party,” state broadcaster CCTV on Wednesday. Beijing has also announced some trade restrictions on Taiwan. 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.


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