13 min read

China-Taiwan news: Taiwanese jets scrambled as 20 Chinese aircraft cross median line – live

China-Taiwan news: Taiwanese jets scrambled as 20 Chinese aircraft cross median line – live

The Guardian - Joe Middleton/Rebecca Ratcliffe Sat 6 Aug 2022

How worried should we be about military conflict?

Taiwan also detected 14 Chinese military ships conducting activities around the Taiwan Strait, its defense ministry said

Show key events only from 3h ago12.50

Taiwan scrambles jets as Chinese aircraft cross median line

Taiwan scrambled jets to warn away 20 Chinese aircraft, including 14 that crossed the Taiwan Strait median line, the island’s defense ministry said on Saturday according to Reuters.

Taiwan said China’s military drills appear to simulate an attack on the self-ruled island, AP reports.

Taiwan also detected 14 Chinese military ships conducting activities around the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said in a statement.

  • Updated at 15.45 BST38m ago15.09

China claims the US should have stopped Pelosi's visit

On Saturday, Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, accused the US of interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs.

Chunying also said the US should have stopped Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week.

She added that the US needs to stop trying to “hollow out” the one-China policy. This refers to an arrangement dating back to the 1970s in that countries can maintain formal diplomatic relations with China or Taiwan, but not both.

Washington currently maintains an informal relationship with Taiwan that includes selling its weapons so it can defend itself.

  • Updated at 15.25 BST3h ago12.50

Taiwan scrambles jets as Chinese aircraft cross median line

Taiwan scrambled jets to warn away 20 Chinese aircraft, including 14 that crossed the Taiwan Strait median line, the island’s defense ministry said on Saturday according to Reuters.

Taiwan said China’s military drills appear to simulate an attack on the self-ruled island, AP reports.

Taiwan also detected 14 Chinese military ships conducting activities around the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said in a statement.

  • Updated at 15.45 BST
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5h ago11.04

Summary

Here’s a summary of the latest developments as it passes 6 pm in Taipei.

  • The People’s Liberation Army’s eastern theatre command said it continued on Saturday to conduct sea and air joint exercises north, southwest, and east of Taiwan, as planned, Reuters reported. It said its focus was on testing the system’s land strike and sea assault capabilities.
  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Saturday that China should not hold talks on important global matters such as the climate crisis “hostage” after Beijing cut off contacts with Washington in retaliation for US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week. Blinken spoke in an online news conference with his Philippine counterpart in Manila after meeting the newly elected president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, and other top officials.
  • Speaking at a rally in Wisconsin, former US president Donald Trump questioned why Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. He told supporters: “What was she doing in Taiwan? She was China’s dream, she gave them an excuse. They’ve been looking for that excuse.”
  • Taiwan’s defense ministry has accused Chinese aircraft and ships of carrying out simulation attack exercises on its main island on Saturday. Several batches of Chinese aircraft and ships were detected in the Taiwan Strait, some of which crossed the median line – an unofficial buffer separating the two sides – according to the ministry. Taiwan’s army used patrolling naval ships and put shore-based missiles on stand-by in response.
  • A Taiwan official who was in charge of various missile production projects was found dead on Saturday morning in a hotel room in southern Taiwan, according to the official Central News Agency. Ou Yang Li-Hsing, the deputy head of the military-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, was 57. The cause of his death is unknown, CNA reported.
  • The US, Australian, and Japanese foreign ministers have urged China to immediately cease military exercises around Taiwan. In a joint statement after meeting in Phnom Penh on the margins of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers’ gathering, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and the foreign ministers of Australia and Japan, Penny Wong and Hayashi Yoshimasa, “expressed their concern about the People’s Republic of China’s recent actions that gravely affect international peace and stability, including the use of large-scale military exercises”. They also “condemned the PRC’s launch of ballistic missiles, five of which the Japanese government reported landed in its exclusive economic zones, raising tension and destabilizing the region”.
  • Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, said Chinese military drills near Taiwan were a threat to regional security. Beijing announced four days of drills that are expected to finish on Sunday. The drills are a “serious problem that impacts our national security and the safety of our citizens”, Kishida told reporters, speaking after a meeting with the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in Tokyo on Friday.
  • North Korea has denounced Nancy Pelosi as “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability” after the US House speaker expressed her commitment during a visit to South Korea to achieve the North’s denuclearisation. It also condemned her trip to Taiwan.
  • The US special envoy on climate change, John Kerry, said China’s decision to suspend bilateral talks on climate change with the US does not punish Washington, “it punishes the world”. “No country should withhold progress on existential transnational issues because of bilateral differences,” said the former US secretary of state, who is currently the Biden administration’s top climate diplomat. US national security council spokesperson, John Kirby, also told reporters that China’s decision to halt cooperation in a number of critical areas was “fundamentally irresponsible”.
  • Updated at 11.11 BST5h ago10.37

China restarts military drills around Taiwan

The People’s Liberation Army’s eastern theatre command said it continued on Saturday to conduct sea and air joint exercises north, southwest, and east of Taiwan, as planned, reports Reuters.

It said its focus was on testing the system’s land strike and sea assault capabilities.

Earlier on Saturday Taiwan’s defense ministry accused Chinese aircraft and ships of carrying out simulation attack exercises on its main island.

  • Updated at 11.15 BST6h ago09.58

China should not hold global concerns 'hostage', says Blinken

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Saturday that China should not hold talks on important global matters such as the climate crisis “hostage” after Beijing cut off contacts with Washington in retaliation for US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week.

Blinken spoke in an online news conference with his Philippine counterpart in Manila after meeting the newly elected president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, and other top officials, as relations between Washington and Beijing plummeted to their worst level in years, reports Associated Press.

The US secretary of state said:

We should not hold hostage cooperation on matters of global concern because of differences between our two countries.

Others are rightly expecting us to continue to work on issues that matter to the lives and livelihood of their people as well as our own.

He added that cooperation on the climate crisis with China is vital and that shutting down contact on the issue “doesn’t punish the United States it punishes the world”.

The world’s largest carbon emitter is now refusing to engage on combatting the climate crisis.

Pelosi visited the self-governing democracy on Wednesday, angering China which claims it as its own territory.

Beijing swiftly announced sanctions against Pelosi for her “provocative” actions and cut off dialogue with the US government on Friday.

  • Updated at 10.17 BST8h ago07.39

Senior Taiwan official died of heart attack, local media say

The Taiwan official who was found dead in his hotel room on Saturday morning (see 5.52 am) died of a heart attack, according to official media reports cited by Reuters. Authorities said there was no sign that anyone had broken into his room.

Ou Yang Li-Hsing was deputy head of the military-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, where he supervised various missile production projects. He was 57.

A senior official leading Taiwan's missile production program died of a heart attack, according to official media. Authorities said there was no sign of an external intrusion in the hotel room of 57-year-old Ou Yang

— Yimou Lee (@YimouLee) August 6, 2022
  • Updated at 08.47 BST9h ago07.04

Summary

Here’s a summary of the latest developments as it passes 2 pm in Taipei.

  • Taiwan’s defense ministry has accused Chinese aircraft and ships of carrying out simulation attack exercises on its main island on Saturday. Several batches of Chinese aircraft and ships were detected in the Taiwan Strait, some of which crossed the median line, an unofficial buffer separating the two sides, according to the ministry. Taiwan’s army used patrolling naval ships and put shore-based missiles on stand-by in response.
  • A Taiwan official who was in charge of various missile production projects was found dead on Saturday morning in a hotel room in Southern Taiwan, according to the official Central News Agency. Ou Yang Li-Hsing, deputy head of the military-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, was 57. The cause of his death is unknown, CNA reported.
  • The US, Australian, and Japanese foreign ministers have urged China to immediately cease military exercises around Taiwan. In a joint statement after meeting in Phnom Penh on the margins of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers’ gathering, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and the foreign ministers of Australia and Japan, Penny Wong and Hayashi Yoshimasa, “expressed their concern about the People’s Republic of China’s recent actions that gravely affect international peace and stability, including the use of large-scale military exercises”. They also “condemned the PRC’s launch of ballistic missiles, five of which the Japanese government reported landed in its exclusive economic zones, raising tension and destabilizing the region”.
  • Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, said Chinese military drills near Taiwan, were a threat to regional security. Beijing announced four days of drills that are expected to finish on Sunday. The drills are a “serious problem that impacts our national security and the safety of our citizens,” Kishida told reporters, speaking after a meeting with the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in Tokyo on Friday.
  • North Korea has denounced Nancy Pelosi as “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability”, after the US House speaker expressed her commitment during a visit to South Korea to achieve the North’s denuclearisation. It also condemned her trip to Taiwan.
  • The US special envoy on climate change John Kerry said China’s decision to suspend bilateral talks on climate change with the US does not punish Washington, “it punishes the world”. “No country should withhold progress on existential transnational issues because of bilateral differences,” said the former US secretary of state, who is currently the Biden administration’s top climate diplomat. US national security council spokesperson, John Kirby, also told reporters that China’s decision to halt cooperation in a number of critical areas was “fundamentally irresponsible”.
  • Updated at 07.05 BST9h ago06.28

In response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, Beijing on Friday canceled efforts to keep communication channels open between Chinese and US military commanders.

It’s feared that this raises the risk of an accidental escalation in tensions. Reuters has published some analysis on this:

Christopher Twomey, a security scholar at the US Naval Postgraduate School in California, told Reuters the severing of the communication links was worrying, coming at what he believed was the beginning of a new Taiwan crisis.

“That is precisely the time you would want to have more opportunities to talk to the other side ... Losing those channels greatly reduces the ability of the two sides to de-conflict military forces as various exercises and operations continue.”

As Chinese warships, fighter jets and drones manoeuvre around Taiwan, at least four powerful US vessels, including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli and the guided missile cruiser USS Antietam are east of Taiwan, Reuters has confirmed.

Bonnie Glaser, a Washington-based security analyst with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said, more broadly, prospects were “extremely low for holding talks on risk reduction measures or stability”. Over time, she said she expected the specific talks called off this week would resume but “right now, China has to signal toughness and resolve”.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Chinese officials had not responded to calls from senior Pentagon officials this week but that was seen as China showing displeasure over Pelosi’s trip rather than the severing of the channel between senior defence officials, including US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Austin pushed for improved communication between the rival forces when he met Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of Shangri-la Dialogue security meeting in Singapore in June.

Both Asian and Western diplomats said US military chiefs had been pushing for more frequent theatre-level command talks for some time, given China’s growing deployments across Asia, where the US navy has traditionally been the dominant power.

The Pentagon said on Friday that China was overreacting and the US was still open to building crisis communication mechanisms.
  • Updated at 06.48 BST10h ago05.52

Taiwan official leading missile production found dead in a hotel

The deputy head of the Taiwan defense ministry’s research and development unit has been found dead in a hotel in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, according to the official Central News Agency.

Ou Yang Li-Hsing, deputy head of the military-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, was 57. The cause of his death is unknown, CNA reported.

Ou Yang, who was in charge of various missile production projects, had been on a business trip to Pingtung.

The military-owned body is working to more than double its yearly missile production capacity to close to 500 this year, as the island boosts its combat power amid what it sees as China’s growing military threat, according to Reuters.

  • Updated at 06.42 BST11h ago04.34

Chinese aircraft and ships carried out simulation attack exercises

Taiwan’s defense ministry has said that some Chinese aircraft and ships carried out simulation attack exercises towards the main Taiwan Island on Saturday, Reuters senior correspondent in Taipei Yimou Lee has tweeted.

Several batches of Chinese aircraft and ships were detected in the Taiwan Strait on Saturday morning, some of which crossed the median line, they report.

#TAIWAN DEFENCE MINISTRY: SOME OF THE CHINESE AIRCRAFT AND SHIPS CARRIED OUT SIMULATION ATTACK EXERCISES TOWARDS THE MAIN TAIWAN ISLAND ON SAT

— Yimou Lee (@YimouLee) August 6, 2022
  • 12h ago03.42

Summary

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s continuing live coverage of the Taiwan crisis. Here’s a summary of the latest developments as it passes 10.30 am in Taipei.

  • The US, Australian, and Japanese foreign ministers have urged China to immediately cease military exercises around Taiwan. In a joint statement after meeting in Phnom Penh on the margins of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers’ gathering, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and the foreign ministers of Australia and Japan, Penny Wong and Hayashi Yoshimasa, “expressed their concern about the People’s Republic of China’s recent actions that gravely affect international peace and stability, including the use of large-scale military exercises”. They also “condemned the PRC’s launch of ballistic missiles, five of which the Japanese government reported landed in its exclusive economic zones, raising tension and destabilizing the region”.
  • The Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, walked out of a plenary session in Cambodia just as Japan’s top diplomat, Yoshimasa Hayashi, spoke on Friday. Wang called a rare news conference late on Friday, where he accused the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, of spreading misinformation. He called Nancy Pelosi’s trip a “contemptible farce” and stressed China’s military response to it was “firm, forceful and appropriate”.
  • The US special envoy on climate change John Kerry said China’s decision to suspend bilateral talks on climate change with the US does not punish Washington, “it punishes the world”. “No country should withhold progress on existential transnational issues because of bilateral differences,” said the former US secretary of state, who is currently the Biden administration’s top climate diplomat. US national security council spokesperson, John Kirby, also told reporters that China’s decision to halt cooperation in a number of critical areas was “fundamentally irresponsible”.
  • Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, said Chinese military drills near Taiwan, were a threat to regional security. Beijing announced four days of drills that are expected to finish on Sunday. The drills are a “serious problem that impacts our national security and the safety of our citizens,” Kishida told reporters, speaking after a meeting with the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in Tokyo on Friday.
  • Taiwan’s defense ministry said on Friday the island’s military had dispatched aircraft and ships and deployed land-based missile systems to monitor ships and aircraft that briefly crossed the Taiwan strait median line. On Thursday, China fired multiple missiles into waters surrounding Taiwan. The defense ministry later said the missiles were high in the atmosphere and posed no threat. It gave no details of their flight paths, citing intelligence concerns. Taiwan also said it scrambled jets on Friday to warn away 49 Chinese aircraft in its air defense zone, according to Reuters. All 49 Chinese aircraft crossed the Taiwan strait median line, the ministry said in a statement.
  • North Korea has denounced Nancy Pelosi as “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability” after the US House speaker expressed her commitment during a visit to South Korea to achieve the North’s denuclearisation.
  • China has “historically been a victim of foreign aggression”, its foreign ministry spokesperson said. In a series of tweets on Friday, Hua Chunying said: “China had historically been a victim of foreign aggression. Today, the US still grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs and attempts to undermine China’s sovereignty and security from time to time.”
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