Taiwan: China staging mock invasion and breaching demarcation line | Taiwan

Taiwan has accused the Chinese military of faking an attack on its main island as Beijing continued to retaliate over Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.

Beijing continued on Saturday some of its biggest military exercises around Taiwan, drills seen as practice for the eventual blockade and invasion of the island.

Taipei said it observed “multiple” Chinese planes and ships operating in the Taiwan Strait, believing they were simulating an attack on the self-ruled democracy’s main island.

“Several batches of communist aircraft and ships carrying out activities around the Taiwan Strait, some of which crossed the median line,” the defense ministry said, referring to an unofficial demarcation line that runs through the Taiwan Strait which Beijing does not recognize.

Beijing said it will hold a live fire drill in the southern part of the Yellow Sea, located between China and the Korean Peninsula, from Saturday until August 15.

China’s state broadcaster CCTV has reported that Chinese missiles have flown directly over Taiwan during the drills, a major escalation if confirmed.

Taipei has remained defiant, insisting it will not be intimidated by its “evil neighbor”.

The scale and intensity of China’s drills have sparked outrage in the United States and other democracies, with the White House summoning China’s ambassador to Washington on Friday to reprimand him over Beijing’s actions.

Relations between the two superpowers have plummeted following the US House Speaker’s trip to Taiwan, which China claims as its territory.

Beijing’s retaliatory decision to withdraw from hard-won cooperation on climate change sparked wider fears about the future of the planet. US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the decision was “fundamentally irresponsible”.

“They’re actually punishing the entire world, because the climate crisis knows no boundaries or geographic borders,” Kirby said.

“The world’s largest emitter is now refusing to participate in the critical steps needed to combat the climate crisis.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the two superpowers must continue to work together for the good of the world.

“For the Secretary-General, there is no way to solve the most pressing problems around the world without effective dialogue and cooperation between the two countries,” Guterres’ spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said.

But with tensions over Taiwan rising to their highest level in nearly 30 years with the risk of military conflict high, experts told AFP the latest downturn in relations between the two superpowers could be deep and durable

“The relationship is in a very bad place right now,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the German Marshall Fund.

Friday’s suspension of bilateral military and maritime dialogue while China continues its military exercises was “particularly concerning,” he said.

“We don’t know what else they’re going to do,” he said. “We don’t know if this is just a temporary thing.”

John Culver, a former CIA Asia analyst, told a discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies that Beijing’s main goal with its military exercises was to change that status quo.

“I think this is the new normal,” Culver said. “The Chinese want to show … that the speaker’s visit has crossed a line.”

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