Japan considers the incident ‘a serious issue affecting national security’; this is the first time that the country’s exclusive economic zone has been reached
Chinese ballistic missiles fell into the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Japan this Thursday, 4, informed the Japanese Defense Minister, Nobuo Kishi. “We believe that five of the nine ballistic missiles launched by the China landed in Japan’s EEZ,” he told the press, adding that the number of nine missiles is an estimate made by them. “Japan has lodged a protest with China through diplomatic channels,” Kishi said, calling the incident “a serious issue that affects our national security and that of our citizens.” China has yet to comment on Japan’s accusation. The minister said that this was the first time that Chinese ballistic missiles had entered the Japanese EEZ. Some islands in the department of Okinawa, in the extreme south of Japan, are only a few tens of kilometers from Taiwan. China began carrying out massive military exercises on an unprecedented scale on Thursday in the waters around Taiwan. The maneuvers go until Sunday, 7.
“Six large areas around the island have been selected for the combat exercise, and during this period, ships and aircraft will not be able to enter the air and maritime spaces involved,” Chinese state media reported. Taiwan’s defense ministry said China fired “multiple” ballistic missiles into waters near the island. The ministry condemned what it called “irrational actions that undermine regional peace”. Taiwanese military officials did not mention the exact location where the missiles landed or if they flew over the island. This action is in response to the visit of the Speaker of the United States, Nancy Pelosibetween Tuesday and Wednesday on the island, despite strong warnings from Beijing, which considers Taiwan as one of its provinces. Pelosi’s move is seen by China as a provocation, support for Taiwan independence advocates and a violation of the US pledge not to have official relations with the island.
*With information from AFP