China-Taiwan news – live: US calls Beijing’s reaction ‘flagrantly provocative’

Missiles fired from Chinese coast amid Taiwan tensions

US secretary of state Antony Blinken told an Asian meeting of top diplomats today that China’s reaction to US house speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was “flagrantly provocative”, a western official said.

Meanwhile, Ms Pelosi, who arrived in Japan last evening for the final leg of her Asia tour, said the trip to the region was “not about changing the status quo in Taiwan”.

Her diplomatic support to Taipei infuriated China, prompting it to hold live-fire military drills in the waters off Taiwan.

Five missiles landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), prompting Tokyo to lodge a strong protest through diplomatic channels.

Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida said China’s military exercises represent a “grave problem” that threatens regional peace and security and the missile launches need to be “stopped immediately”.

China says it summoned European diplomats in the country to protest statements issued by the Group of Seven nations and the European Union criticizing threatening Chinese military exercises surrounding Taiwan.

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Oil tanker owners raise security alerts as airlines cancel flights to Taipei

Amid escalating tension in the Taiwan Strait, large oil tanker owners have since raised security alert levels and are diverting vessels, said Anoop Singh, head of tanker research at Braemar, a shipping risk manager.

Shipping insurance groups have also posted alerts to members, urging caution in navigating around Taiwan.

Though tankers and container vessels were still docking normally in Taiwan, analysts warned even minor delays for ships were a concern when global trade is still recovering from the impact of pandemic lockdowns.

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A Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on 5 August 2022

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A Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on 5 August 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

“As ships are utilized for by-passing the tensions and not for expediting trade it’s a move in the wrong direction – meaning more hardship for supply chains,” said Peter Sand, chief analyst at ocean freight platform Xeneta.

Meanwhile, airlines have also cancelled flights to Taipei and rerouted others to avoid nearby airspace that has been closed to civilian traffic during the Chinese military exercises.

“Though China’s action has yet to significantly disrupt ocean freight operations, a prolonged version certainly could,” said Zvi Schreiber, CEO at Freightos shipping index.

“Regional conflict could force vessels to take alternative routes, adding transit time, disrupting schedules and causing further delays and costs.”

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China’s military exercise disrupt key shipping lanes

China’s military exercises in the waters around Taiwan have prompted some ships to navigate around the Taiwan Strait and give the island a wide berth, disrupting key trading routes for cargo and commodities sailing around the world, analysts said.

Angered by US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China yesterday began four days of military drills around the disputed island, including firing live missiles and deploying fighter jets.

Although Taiwan’s ports are operating as normal, some cargo ships and oil tankers are re-routing around the island to avoid confrontation with the Chinese military, adding around half a day to voyages, analysts and ship owners said.

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Tourist look up as a Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on 5 August 2022

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Tourist look up as a Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on 5 August 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

It is a reminder of the severe impact a conflict over Taiwan could have on global trade given the 180km wide (110-mile) Taiwan Strait and a shipping lane to the island’s east are major routes for ships transporting goods from East Asia to the US and Europe.

“Some ships have already taken precautions and are proceeding east of the island instead of through the Taiwan Strait,” said Niels Rasmussen, chief analyst at shipowner association Bimco.

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Asean slams progress on Myanmar peace plan at talks overshadowed by Taiwan

Southeast Asia’s regional bloc Asean is “deeply disappointed” by the limited progress made by Myanmar’s military rulers in implementing a peace agreement to end the conflict in the country, a communique issued by its foreign ministers said.

The communique was issued today and comes as Asean chair Cambodia hosts a broader international gathering, including counterparts from the United States, China, Russia, Japan, Britain and Australia.

The gathering has been overshadowed by tensions over developments around Taiwan following US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s solidarity trip to self-ruled the island this week, which has infuriated Beijing.

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China’s foreign minister Wang Yi (L), Japans foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi (2nd L), New Zealand’s foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta (3rd L), South Koreas foreign minister Park Jin (4th L), Russias foreign minister Sergei Lavrov (C) and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (R) attend the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers meeting during the 55th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh on 5 August 2022

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China’s foreign minister Wang Yi (L), Japans foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi (2nd L), New Zealand’s foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta (3rd L), South Koreas foreign minister Park Jin (4th L), Russias foreign minister Sergei Lavrov (C) and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (R) attend the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers meeting during the 55th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh on 5 August 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov walked out of a plenary meeting today when their Japanese counterpart spoke, a person in the room said.

Mr Wang had cancelled a meeting with Japan’s Yoshimasa Hayashi in Cambodia yesterday, with China citing displeasure over a G7 statement urging it to resolve tension over Taiwan peacefully.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations had warned of the risk of miscalculations in the Taiwan Strait and “serious confrontation” among major powers, though today’s communique did not mention Taiwan.

The communique did, however, bring up Myanmar’s crisis since last year’s coup and recommended that an Asean summit in November assess progress by the junta in implementing the peace plan “to guide the decision on the next steps”.

“We extensively discussed the recent developments in Myanmar and expressed our concerns over the prolonged political crisis … including the execution of four opposition activists,” the communique said.

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China summons European diplomats over statement on Taiwan

China says it summoned European diplomats in the country to protest statements issued by the Group of Seven nations and the European Union criticizing threatening Chinese military exercises surrounding Taiwan.

The foreign ministry today said vice minister Deng Li made “solemn representations” over what he called “wanton interference in China’s internal affairs.”

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A French-made Mirage 2000 fighter jet taxis on a runway in front of a hangar at the Hsinchu Air Base in Hsinchu on 5 August 2022

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A French-made Mirage 2000 fighter jet taxis on a runway in front of a hangar at the Hsinchu Air Base in Hsinchu on 5 August 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

China has dispatched navy ships and warplanes and launched missiles into the Taiwan Strait in response to a visit this week by US House speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, which China regards as its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary.

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US calls China reaction to Pelosi’s visit ‘flagrantly provocative’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told an Asian meeting of top diplomats today that China’s reaction to US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was “flagrantly provocative”, a western official said.

Mr Blinken, speaking at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia, said China had sought to intimidate not only Taiwan, but neighbours too, after it launched the largest-ever military drills in the Taiwan Strait, the official said.

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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken looks on at the East Asia Summit foreign ministers meeting during the 55th Asean foreign ministers’ meeting in Phnom Penh on 5 August 2022

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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken looks on at the East Asia Summit foreign ministers meeting during the 55th Asean foreign ministers’ meeting in Phnom Penh on 5 August 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

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‘We’re all one family’: Taiwan residents go about regular business amid escalated tension with China

Amid the escalated tension over China’s military activity surrounding Taiwan, the mood in the island state was calm.In Keelung, a city on the northern coast of Taiwan and close to two of the announced drill areas, swimmers took their morning laps in a natural pool built in the ocean.

Lu Chuan-hsiong, 63, was enjoying his morning swim, saying he wasn’t worried. “Because Taiwanese and Chinese, we’re all one family. There’s a lot of mainlanders here, too,” he said.

“Everyone should want money, not bullets,” he quipped, saying the economy wasn’t doing so well.

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Tourists visit a scenic area on Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on 5 August 2022

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Tourists visit a scenic area on Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on 5 August 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

Those who have to work on the ocean were more concerned. Fishermen are likely to be the most affected by the drills, which cover six different areas surrounding Taiwan, part of which come into the island’s territorial waters.

Most fishermen will continue to try to fish, as it is the season for squid.“It’s very close. This will definitely impact us, but if they want to do this, what can we do? We can just avoid that area,” said Chou Ting-tai, who owns a fishing vessel.

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China’s joint military operations focused on ‘blockade, sea target assault, strike on ground targets’

China’s official Xinhua news agency reported the military exercises were joint operations focused on “blockade, sea target assault, strike on ground targets, and airspace control.”

Ma Chen-kun, a professor at Taiwan’s National Defense University, said the drills were aimed at showing off the Chinese military’s ability to deploy precision weapons to cut off Taiwan’s links with the outside and facilitate the landing of troops.

The announced drills are “more complete” than previous exercises, he said.

“If the People’s Liberation Army actually invades Taiwan in an all-out invasion, the concrete actions it will take, it’s all in this particular exercise,” Mr Ma said.

“The main thing is they will cut off Taiwan’s links to the outside world, from their sea, they would suppress the coastal defence firepower,” he said.

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China’s ‘irrational behavior’ intends to alter status quo, says Taiwan’s defence military

China’s “irrational behavior” intends to alter the status quo and disrupt regional peace and stability, said Taiwan’s defence ministry.

It added that their forces are on alert and monitoring the situation, while seeking to avoid escalating tensions. Civil defense drills were held last week and notices were placed on designated air raid shelters months ago.

“The three service branches will combine efforts with all the people to jointly safeguard national security and territorial integrity” while adapting to the situation as it develops, the statement said.

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Three French-made Mirage 2000 fighter jets taxi on a runway in front of a hangar at the Hsinchu Air Base in Hsinchu on 5 August 2022

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Three French-made Mirage 2000 fighter jets taxi on a runway in front of a hangar at the Hsinchu Air Base in Hsinchu on 5 August 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

The ministry said it tracked the firing of Chinese Dongfeng series missiles beginning around 1.56pm yesterday. It said in a statement it used various early warning surveillance systems to track the missile launches. It later said it counted 11 Dongfeng missiles in the waters in the north, east and south.

The ministry also said it tracked long-distance rockets and ammunition firing in outlying islands in Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin.

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Taiwanese president criticises China’s military drill: ‘Violated our sovereignty’

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen criticized the drills in a public video address, saying China “destroyed the status quo and violated our sovereignty” with its “irresponsible actions.”

She urged China to be “reasonable and restrained.”

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Speaker of the US House Of Representatives Nancy Pelosi speaks alongside Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen, right, at the president’s office on 3 August 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan

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Speaker of the US House Of Representatives Nancy Pelosi speaks alongside Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen, right, at the president’s office on 3 August 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan

(Getty Images)

We are calm and not impulsive, we are reasonable and not provocative. But we will also be firm and not back down.

Tsai Ing-wen

The president said Taiwan is in communication with its allies to ensure that things do not escalate further.

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US National Security Council spokesperson condemn military activity surrounding Taiwan

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby condemned the launches and military activity surrounding Taiwan.

“China has chosen to overreact and use the speaker’s visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait,” he said yesterday.

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John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, 4 August 2022

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John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, 4 August 2022

(AFP via Getty Images)

We will not be deterred from operating in the seas and the skies of the Western Pacific consistent with international law, as we have for decades supporting Taiwan and defending a free and open Indo-Pacific.

John Kirby

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