BEIJING: China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is conducting its most detailed simulated joint forces attack on Taiwan since Friday as Beijing continues to hold unprecedented military exercises around the island to vent its anger against the visit of US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to the self-ruled country.
Official PLA media indicated the scale of the simulated attack was big without sharing details, saying the exercises focussed on testing the capabilities of land strikes and sea assaults of the Chinese military.
A report in an official PLA portal said the eastern theatre command’s naval division dispatched over 10 destroyers and escorts to conduct “joint blockading and control in the waters around Taiwan Island, and continuously organised day and night simulated land strikes”.
Joint anti-submarine combat drills were also conducted to improve the core combat capabilities of the ships, the PLA portal reported.
“Multiple frigates, missile boats and multiple mobile shore-guided firepower units conduct pursuits on important targets at sea and launch simulated assaults,” the report said.
“With (Chinese) warplanes coming so close to the island that pilots could visually confirm its coastline and the Central Mountain Range,” analysts told the state-run tabloid, Global Times about the drills, saying that the PLA displayed its control over the island.
The Chinese exercises, positioned at six maritime locations around the island and backed by land-based missile systems, are scheduled to last until midday on Sunday.
The PLA sent “multiple” warships and aircraft into the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, Taiwan’s national defence ministry said in a statement, confirming the “simulated” attacks.
“Multiple PLA craft were detected around Taiwan Strait, some have crossed the median line. Possible simulated attack…” the ministry said on Twitter.
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late on Tuesday, the highest-level visit to the island by a top US politician in decades, for a brief visit despite repeated warnings issued by Beijing.
Beijing responded with fury at Pelosi’s visit, including sanctioning her and her family, and cancelling several dialogue mechanisms with the US.
China on Friday mounted a diplomatic offensive against the visit cancelling eight bilateral mechanisms. The Chinese foreign ministry said “eight countermeasures” had been implemented in response to Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, which included cancelling talks between military officials and suspending critical climate crisis talks between Beijing and Washington.
The Chinese government’s official news agency, Xinhua, issued a scathing opinion piece on her visit early on Saturday, identifying “six mistakes”.
“By visiting Taiwan, Pelosi has made six mistakes: reneging on past commitments, trampling the rule of law, undermining peace, meddling in China’s internal affairs, political manipulation and abusing power for selfish purposes,” the opinion piece said. “The visit is bound to face the judgement and punishment of history,” it added.