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China plans 'regular patrols' after Taiwan drills

August 10, 2022

Beijing said it "successfully completed" major military exercises around Taiwan, and repeated military threats against the self-ruled island following a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

China fires ballistic missiles in an exercise.
Beijing had extended the exercises beyond their planned dates without announcing when they would endImage: Photo by various sources/AFP

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Wednesday announced military exercises around Taiwan have been completed, but left the door open for more drills in the future. 

China carried out its largest-ever military exercises around Taiwan following a controversial visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

Pelosi was the most senior US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, angering China, which sees Taiwan as part of its territory.

What did China say? 

In a brief announcement about the completion of the drills, the Eastern Theater Command of the PLA said it "will keep an eye on the changes in the situation in the Taiwan Strait." 

The PLA will also "continue to carry out training and preparation for combat, organize regular combat readiness patrols in the direction of the Taiwan Strait, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity." 

A map illustrating the Taiwan Strait between mainland China and Taiwan
The Taiwan Strait separates mainland China and Taiwan

Another policy statement issued in English by the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office said Beijing was dedicated to achieve the "peaceful reunification" of Taiwan and China. 

"But we will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities," it said.

China went on to threaten to use force against "interference by external forces or radical action by separatist elements." 

China ups military pressure on Taiwan 

Beijing has claimed that its moves were triggered by Pelosi's trip to Taiwan last week. However, Taipei insists that such visits by Western officials are routine and accuses China of using the trip as a pretext to increase military threats. 

According to media reports, China's navy continued activities near the "median line," an unofficial buffer in the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday afternoon. Taipei said 17 Chinese fighter jets crossed the median line.

A Taiwan Defense Ministry spokesman on Wednesday said Taipei would "fully adjust the allocation of forces based on factors such as the enemy threat."

Tensions unlikely to ease after China's Taiwan drills: DW's William Yang

UK summons Chinese ambassador

Meanwhile in London, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss summoned the Chinese Ambassador to Britain, Zheng Zeguang, over Beijing's actions toward Taiwan. 

"We have seen increasingly aggressive behavior and rhetoric from Beijing in recent months, which threaten peace and stability in the region," Truss said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The United Kingdom urges China to resolve any differences by peaceful means, without the threat or use of force or coercion."

The Chinese embassy in London said it rejected and condemned the British "irresponsible rhetoric about China's legitimate [and] necessary response to US House Speaker's Taiwan visit."

fb/wmr (AP, dpa, Reuters)