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Taiwan accuses China of simulating invasion as tensions rise

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Taiwan accused the Chinese military of simulating an attack on its main island on Saturday, when Beijing doubled its retaliation for the visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei after announcing a suspension of cooperation with Washington on important issues. issues.

On Saturday morning, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said multiple Chinese ships and planes had conducted missions in the Taiwan Strait, some of which crossed the median line, an unofficial buffer separating the two sides, moves that the Taiwan military said were part of a simulation attack on the main Taiwanese capital. Island.

The Taiwanese military sent out an alert and deployed patrol troops and air reconnaissance ships to oversee, while coastal missiles were put on standby.

Taipei said it has observed “several” Chinese planes and ships in the Taiwan Strait, assuming they are simulating an attack on the main island of the self-governed democracy.

“Multiple batches of communist aircraft and ships are conducting operations around the Taiwan Strait, some of which crossed the median line,” the defense ministry said in a statement, citing a demarcation line that runs through the Taiwan Strait that Beijing does not recognize.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry also said it fired flares late Friday to warn seven drones flying over the Kinmen Islands and unidentified aircraft flying over the Matsu Islands. Both archipelagos are close to the southeast coast of mainland China.

US-China diplomatic dives

Relations between China and the US have been snowed in in the wake of Pelosi’s trip to China’s self-governed neighbor – which it claims as its territory – sparking calls from the UN for an urgent de-escalation of tensions.

The environment will be the latest victim of Friday’s geopolitical sparring as Beijing said it would withdraw from a series of talks and cooperation deals with Washington, particularly on climate change and defense cooperation.

The world’s two biggest polluters had pledged to work together to accelerate climate action this decade and pledged to meet regularly to tackle the crisis — a deal that now looks shaky.

The latest military exercises around Taiwan are exercises aimed at practicing a blockade and eventual invasion of the island, analysts say.

Showing how close Chinese forces have gotten to the coast of Taiwan, Beijing’s military released a video overnight of an Air Force pilot filming the island’s coastline and mountains from his cockpit.

And Beijing also said they would conduct a live fire drill in a southern part of the Yellow Sea — located between China and the Korean Peninsula — from Saturday to August 15.

China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, has reported that Chinese missiles flew directly over Taiwan during the exercises – a major escalation if confirmed.

But Taipei has remained defiant, insisting that it would not be intimidated by its “bad neighbor.”

“punish the whole world”

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

And Beijing’s decision to pull out of its hard-won cooperation on climate change has now fueled greater fears about the planet’s future.

“It is clearly concerning and raises concern,” Alden Meyer, a senior associate at E3G, a climate-focused think tank, told AFP.

It is “impossible to address the climate emergency if the world’s number one and number two economies and number one and number two emitters do not take action,” he said.

“And it’s always preferable that they do that in a collaborative way.”

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Washington the decision was “fundamentally irresponsible.”

“They’re actually punishing the whole world because the climate crisis doesn’t recognize geographic boundaries and boundaries,” Kirby said.

“The world’s largest emitter is now refusing to take critical steps needed to fight the climate crisis.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the two superpowers must continue to work together – for the sake of the world.

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

‘The new normal’

But as tensions over Taiwan have risen to their highest levels in nearly 30 years with an increased risk of military conflict, experts told AFP that the latest deterioration in relations between the two superpowers could be deep and protracted.

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

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

“We don’t know what else they will do,” she said. “We just don’t know if this is just a temporary thing.”

John Culver, a former CIA Asia analyst, said in 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 a line has been crossed by the speaker’s visit.”

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and Reuters)

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