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Chinese missiles flew over Taiwan during exercises: state media

#Chinese #missiles #flew #Taiwan #exercises #state #media

Chinese missiles flew over Taiwan during Beijing’s latest military drills, state media reported on Friday, as the country moves forward with drills to encircle the island following a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi was the highest-profile US official to travel to Taiwan in years, defying powerful threats from Beijing, which considers the self-governing island its territory.

In response, China launched a series of drills in multiple zones around Taiwan, spanning some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

Beijing has yet to officially confirm whether missiles flew over the islands during exercises, while Taipei has declined to confirm or deny the flight paths, citing intelligence concerns.

But Japan’s defense ministry said that of the nine missiles it detected, four “were believed to have passed over Taiwan’s main island.”

And on Friday, a hashtag shared by state-run media asking, “What does it mean for the People’s Liberation Army’s conventional missiles to pass through the island of Taiwan?” attracted some 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 the island of Taiwan,” Meng Xiangqing, a professor at China’s military-affiliated National Defense University, told state broadcaster CCTV, praising the accuracy of Beijing skills.

He added that they were passing through airspace densely stationed with Patriot missiles – a highly mobile surface-to-air missile system that would provide a crucial defense against Chinese warplanes.

The recent drills also represented the PLA’s closest drills to the island, its first encirclement and the first time it set up a firing 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” and “over 10 destroyers and frigates” during the exercises.

The latest exercises are expected to last until noon Sunday and have sparked outrage in the United States, Japan and the European Union, as well as in Taipei.

White House spokesman John Kirby called it an overreaction by China and a “pretext” to step up military activity across the Taiwan Strait.

China defends the drills as just countermeasures to provocations by the United States and its allies in Taiwan.

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