China has fired several ballistic missiles into the waters around Taiwan as it launched large-scale military exercises in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island.
Chinese state media said the live-fire drills in six areas around Taiwan got under way at noon local time (04:00 GMT) on Thursday and will continue until the same time on Sunday.
Senior Colonel Shi Yi, the spokesman for China’s Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement carried by state media that rocket forces in multiple locations on the mainland launched several types of missiles into designated waters off the eastern coast of Taiwan.
The missiles carried conventional warheads and all of them hit their targets accurately, he said, adding that the aim of the drills was to test the precision of the weapons and ability to deny an enemy access to or control of an area.
The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense confirmed the launches, identifying them as Dongfeng-class ballistic missiles. It said the weapons were fired into waters to the northeast and southwest of Taiwan at about 1:56pm local time (05:56 GMT), and condemned the exercises as “irrational actions that undermine regional peace”.
Japan’s defence minister said on Thursday that five of the ballistic missiles fired by China were believed to have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Tokyo had “lodged a protest with China through diplomatic channels” over the incident, Nobuo Kishi told reporters.