The Chinese military began on Saturday new military drills using live ammunition in the southern part of the Yellow Sea that will run until 15 August, according to a statement by the Chinese Maritime Security Department.
Since the beginning of August, the Chinese army has conducted several military exercises in different regions simultaneously in response to the visit of US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, despite warnings from the Chinese side about this visit
Furthermore, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement that Taipei’s forces “spotted several groups of communist aircrafts and ships conducting activities around the Taiwan Strait, some of which crossed the centre line. It is believed that they are conducting a simulation of an attack on the main island of Taiwan.”
This comes after the White House on Friday called on China to stop the military drills it began since Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in order to reduce the level of tension in the region.
“The Chinese can do a lot to reduce tension by stopping their provocative military manoeuvres and calming their tone,” said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
He also stressed that the US will continue its military contacts “at the highest level” with China, despite Beijing’s announcement to suspend several cooperation agreements that also cover this area.
Additionally, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has suspended cooperation with Washington in preventing cross-border crime and drug smuggling — all moves that Washington has deemed “irresponsible.”
For his part, US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry said that China’s decision to suspend bilateral talks on climate change with the US “does not punish Washington but punishes the world.”
“No country should block progress on cross-border existential issues because of bilateral differences,” he added.
Pelosi is the first senior US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. China announced on Friday that it will impose sanctions on Pelosi personally and her family members in response to her “malicious” and “provocative” actions.
“Our government and military are closely monitoring China’s military exercises and information warfare operations, and are ready to respond as necessary,” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet.
“I call on the international community to support democratic Taiwan and halt any escalation of the regional security situation,” she added.