China has simulated precision strikes against key targets on Taiwan and its surrounding waters during a second day of military drills. The drills – which Beijing has called a “stern warning” to the self-governing island – are a response to Taiwan’s president visiting the US last week.
As the Chinese military simulated an encirclement of the island, the US urged China to show restraint. Taiwan said about 70 Chinese aircraft flew around the island on Sunday.
According to BBC News, Eleven Chinese ships were also spotted. On Saturday, Taiwan said that 45 warplanes either crossed the Taiwan Strait median line – the unofficial dividing line between Taiwanese and Chinese territory – or flew into the south-western part of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.
The operation, dubbed “Joint Sword” by Beijing, will continue until Monday. Taiwanese officials have been enraged by the operation. On Saturday defence officials in Taipei accused Beijing of using President Tsai’s US visit as an “excuse to conduct military exercises, which has seriously undermined peace, stability and security in the region”.
On day one of the drills, one of China’s ships fired a round as it sailed near Pingtan island, China’s closest point to Taiwan. Taiwan’s Ocean Affairs Council, which runs the Coast Guard, issued video footage showing one of its ships shadowing a Chinese warship, though did not provide a location.
In the footage a sailor can be heard telling the Chinese ship through a radio: “You are seriously harming regional peace, stability and security. Please immediately turn around and leave. If you continue to proceed we will take expulsion measures.”
Other footage showed a Taiwanese warship, the Di Hua, accompanying the Coast Guard ship in what the Coast Guard officer calls a “standoff” with the Chinese vessel.