China is continuing military exercises surrounding Taiwan that have disrupted shipping and air traffic and substantially raised concerns about the potential for conflict in the region.
China has carried out fresh military drills around Taiwan, defying calls for it to end its largest-ever exercises encircling the democratic island.
The exercises include anti-submarine drills, according to social media posts from the eastern leadership of China’s ruling Communist Party’s military arm, the People’s Liberation Army on Monday.
The military said the exercises involving missile strikes, warplanes and ship movements crossing the midline of the Taiwan Strait dividing the sides were a response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the self-ruled island last week.
China has ignored calls to calm the tensions, and there was no immediate indication when it would end what amounts to a blockade.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Sunday it detected a total of 66 aircraft and 14 warships conducting the naval and air exercises.
The island has responded by putting its military on alert and deploying ships, planes and other assets to monitor Chinese aircraft, ships and drones that are “simulating attacks on the island of Taiwan and our ships at sea.”
Taiwan’s army responds
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s official Central News Agency reported that Taiwan’s army will conduct live-fire artillery drills in southern Pingtung County on Tuesday and Thursday, in response to the Chinese exercises.
The drills will include snipers, combat vehicles, armoured vehicles as well as attack helicopters, said the report, which cited an anonymous source.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has threatened to annex it by force if necessary. The two sides split in 1949 after a civil war, but Beijing considers visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as recognising its sovereignty.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has called on the international community to “support democratic Taiwan” and “halt any escalation of the regional security situation.”
The Group of Seven industrialised nations has also criticised China's actions, prompting Beijing to cancel a meeting between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi.
China has also cut off defence and climate talks with the US and imposed sanctions on Pelosi in retaliation for her visit.
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