China steps up military activity around Taiwan

Deutsche Welle reports: China launched massive, live-ammunition military drills encircling Taiwan on Thursday.

Military exercises conducted by the navy, air force and other departments are already underway in six zones surrounding Taiwan, while China’s official Xinhua News Agency said the drills were joint operations focused on “blockade, sea target assault, strike on ground targets, and airspace control.”

China’s eastern military command confirmed that at around 1 p.m. (0500 GMT) units of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “implemented long-range fire live firing training in the Taiwan Strait and conducted precise strikes on specific areas in the eastern part of the Taiwan Strait,” which separates mainland China from the island.

The show of force around vital international shipping lanes — disrupting 18 international routes, according to Taiwan — comes after a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking politician to visit in 25 years.

In doing so, the United States had defied Beijing’s threats of repercussions to the trip.

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