Chinese missiles fall near Taiwan, raising alert level in Japan
The launch of Dongfeng missiles as part of China’s military drills is a response to Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. Beijing has added another zone of operation to the exercises. One zone overlaps with Japan's exclusive economic zone, which China does not recognise.
Taipei (AsiaNews) – China has launched multiple Dongfeng ballistic missiles into the waters near Taiwan, part of military drills that began today in reaction to the visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives.
According to Taiwan’s Defence Ministry, the missiles ended up in the sea at two distinct points in the south-west and north-east of the island.
While Pelosi was still in Taiwan on Tuesday and Wednesday, China announced military (air and naval) exercises in six maritime areas near Taiwan, and issued a no-go warning to unauthorised ships and aircraft.
Today Beijing added a seventh exclusion zone to the east of the island, with operations extended until next Monday.
Three of the original six no-go zones cited by Chinese state media encroach on Taiwan's territorial waters, an unprecedented situation that could lead to a military escalation between the two sides.
Today's launches also raised the alert level in Japan. The Dongfengs fall in an area north-east of Taiwan that overlaps with Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), near the Sakishima Islands, Okinawa Prefecture (picture 2).
Japanese Self-Defence Forces are stationed on two of these islands, Yonaguni and Miyako, while surface-to-air and anti-ship missile systems are under construction on a third, Ishigaki.
The wider region includes the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands, in the East China Sea, which the Chinese call Diaoyu and claim.
Concerned about Chinese military activities, Japan’s coast guard urged fishing fleets, usually present near Yonaguni, Japan’s closest point to Taiwan, to stay clear to avoid incidents with China’s vessels.
Regarding the overlap of China's drill areas with its EEZ, the Japanese government contacted China through diplomatic channels.
Yesterday, however, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that military drills off Taiwan “are necessary and legitimate”, adding that, “China does not accept the notion of so-called Japanese EEZ.”
One of China’s no-go areas also borders the Philippines's exclusive economic zone.
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