China’s missiles ‘imitating North Korea’ – Taiwan
Taiwan has accused China of imitating North Korea by firing missiles into the sea around the island.
China launched 11 ballistic missiles into waters around Taiwan’s north-east and south-west coasts, Taiwan said.
The launches, just miles from the coast, followed US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Wednesday.
North Korea – a strong ally of China’s – has been accused of igniting tensions in the region by repeatedly launching missile tests in recent months.
China sees Taiwan as a break-away province that will eventually be brought under its control – by force if necessary.
The US, for its part, does not officially recognise Taiwan. It does, however, maintain a strong relationship with the island – which includes selling weapons for Taiwan to defend itself.
Ms Pelosi’s visit to the island therefore fuelled tensions, with China accusing the US of behaving irresponsibly.
A day later, China a began an unprecedented launch of ballistic missiles and military drills just off the Taiwanese coast.
In response, Taiwan’s defence ministry said it had activated its defence systems and was monitoring the situation.
Taiwan’s ministry of foreign affairs, meanwhile, accused China of “following the example of North Korea in wilfully test-firing missiles into waters near other countries”.
China also launched live fire drills, which are set to end on Sunday.
China’s missile launches and drills are taking place in some of the world’s busiest waterways, causing disruption to shipping lanes and flights to and from Taiwan.
Ships have been forced to re-route, with days-long disruptions expected to have an impact on supply chains with delays to global shipping.
More than 50 international flights from Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport have been cancelled.
The view from Taiwan: ‘We’ve had this for 70 years’
By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, Taiwan
In the fishing port of Bi Sha Yu, fishermen sitting on the port side are fixing their nets and grumbling loudly: “It’s always us little people who suffer when the politicians fight,” says one captain.
“But what can we do, it’s too dangerous to go out there now.”
Another was tying up after coming back into port. “I went out this morning, but then the coastguard came on the radio and told us all to get back in to port immediately,” he says.
Most people the BBC spoke to do not believe China is about to attack Taiwan. “They’re a bunch of gangsters,” says one man fishing on the dockside.
“Those communists talk big, but they won’t do anything. We’ve been living with their threats for 70 years.”
In wake of the increased tensions, the US navy said a naval carrier – the USS Ronald Reagan – was heading towards part of the ocean that includes waters south-east of Taiwan.
“USS Ronald Reagan and her strike group are under way in the Philippine Sea continuing normal, scheduled operations as part of her routine patrol in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” a navy spokesperson said on Thursday.
A US aircraft that can track ballistic missiles in flight has also taken off from Japan and is heading towards Taiwan.
China and Taiwan: The basics
- Why do China and Taiwan have poor relations? China sees the self-ruled island as a part of its territory and insists it should be unified with the mainland, by force if necessary
- How is Taiwan governed? The island has its own constitution, democratically elected leaders, and about 300,000 active troops in its armed forces
- Who recognises Taiwan? Only a few countries recognise Taiwan. Most recognise the Chinese government in Beijing instead. The US has no official ties with Taiwan but does have a law which requires it to provide the island with the means to defend itself
Read the full article at: bbc.com