China ends this Sunday (7) the biggest military maneuvers in its history around Taiwan, a response to the visit of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to the island, which took relations between Beijing and Washington to its climax. lowest point in years.
In response to Pelosi’s visit, China suspended its cooperation with the United States in several key areas, including combating climate change and defense issues.
It also placed fighter jets, warships and ballistic missiles around Taiwan, which analysts interpreted as a simulation of a blockade and invasion of the neighboring country.
The maneuvers are due to end this Sunday, although Beijing has already announced new military exercises in the Yellow Sea, located between China and the Korean peninsula, until August 15.
Taiwan’s Transport Ministry said six of seven “temporary danger zones” that China has warned airlines to avoid have returned to normal, signaling it is nearing the end of its exercises.
“Flights and navigation can be resumed gradually,” the ministry said in a statement.
The seventh zone, on the east coast of Taiwan, must continue to be avoided until 10:00 am (02:00 GMT) on Monday, the ministry added.
On Sunday, China held “joint hands-on exercises at sea and in airspace around the island of Taiwan as planned,” the Chinese military said.
These exercises were intended to “test joint ground firepower and long-range air strike capabilities,” he added.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry confirmed that China had sent “planes, ships and drones” around the Taiwan Strait, “simulating attacks on Taiwan’s main island and ships in our waters”.
In response, Taiwan said it had deployed a “joint surveillance and reconnaissance intelligence system to closely monitor the enemy’s situation,” as well as dispatching planes and ships.
Taiwan’s Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang said China was “using military action barbarically” to disrupt peace in the Taiwan Strait.
“We urge the Chinese government not to go around exercising its military might, showing its muscles everywhere and jeopardizing the peace of the region,” he told reporters on Sunday.
To show the proximity to the coast of Taiwan, the Chinese military released a video of the coast and mountains of the island, filmed by a pilot.
He also released a photo that he claims was taken from one of his military ships that was patrolling near Taiwan and in which the coast of the island can be seen in the distance.
During its maneuvers, Beijing also fired ballistic missiles at the Taiwanese capital, according to Chinese state media.
Taiwan has stood its ground during China’s maneuvers, saying it will not be intimidated by its “evil neighbor”.
But experts warn that the exercises reveal an increasingly daring Chinese army, capable of carrying out a tough blockade of the self-governing island, as well as obstructing the arrival of American forces.
“In some areas, their capabilities may even exceed the capabilities of the United States,” Grant Newsham, a researcher at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies and a former US Navy officer, told AFP.
“If a battle [futura] is confined to the area around Taiwan, the Chinese navy is a dangerous opponent and if the Americans and Japanese don’t intervene for some reason, it will be very difficult for Taiwan,” he added.
The scale of the maneuvers and Beijing’s decision to withdraw from crucial bilateral negotiations prompted a barrage of condemnations.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced a “disproportionate” reaction on Saturday.
Blinken considered that China should not take discussions on topics such as climate change “hostage”, because “it does not punish the United States, but the whole world”.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that “it is impossible to solve the world’s most pressing problems without effective dialogue and cooperation between the two countries”, according to his spokesman.