A Chinese fighter jet in flight near Taiwan. It takes part in the most important military exercises in the history of the Chinese army, involving combat aircraft, warships and ballistic missiles.
China wraps up its largest-ever military maneuvers around Taiwan on Sunday, an angry reaction to the visit to the island by the chief US representative, Nancy Pelosi, which sent relations between Beijing and Washington plummeting. low for years.
On Sunday, China conducted joint practical exercises at sea and in the airspace surrounding the island of Taiwan, as planned, has said the Chinese Army's Eastern Command, which oversees the country's eastern maritime space – and therefore Taiwan.
The drills were aimed at testing joint firepower in the field and long-range air strike capabilities, he added.
Taiwanese Defense Ministry confirmed that China had deployed planes, ships and drones around the strait, to simulate attacks on the main island of Taiwan and on boats in our waters.
These vast maneuvers were due to end at midday, even if Beijing intends to conduct new live-fire exercises until August 15 in the Yellow Sea which separates China from the Korean peninsula.
Taiwanese Ministry of Transport said that as of noon, six of the seven temporary danger zones that China had asked airlines to avoid had returned to normal, an index that the exercises were coming to an end.
Affected flights and shipping may resume gradually, it said in a statement.
The seventh area, in waters east of Taiwan, will remain to be avoided until Monday at 10 a.m. local time, according to the same source.
The Chinese military conducted “joint practical exercises at sea and in the airspace surrounding the island of Taiwan on Sunday,” the Chinese military's Eastern Command said.
On the Chinese side, the Ministry of Defense did not respond to a request for confirmation of the end of the maneuvers.
To prove how far it had approached the Taiwanese coast, the Chinese army published on Saturday a photo taken according to it from one of its military ships, where we see a Taiwanese navy building only a few hundred meters away.
This shot may be the closest to the Taiwanese coastline ever taken by mainland Chinese forces.
The Chinese military also released the video of one of his fighter pilots showing, from his cockpit in full flight, the coast and the mountains of Taiwan.
Chinese state television CCTV said missiles flew over Taiwan this week during drills around the island, which would be a first.
Taipei has not stopped to condemn these maneuvers in recent days, lambasting its malevolent neighbor and calling on Beijing on Saturday to immediately stop escalating tension and carrying out provocative actions aimed at intimidating the Taiwanese people.
Several experts explained to AFP that these exercises served as a warning: the Chinese army now seems able to carry out a total blockade of the island and to prevent American forces to help him.
China's moves follow the visit of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, to Taiwan last week. Beijing reacted first by suspending a series of Sino-American bilateral discussions and cooperation, notably on climate change and defense, then by launching the most important military exercises in its history as a simulation of blockade and ;invasion of Taiwan.
In some areas, its capabilities may even exceed those of the United States, notes Grant Newsham, a former US Navy officer and researcher at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies.
“If a [future] battle is confined to an area directly around Taiwan, then the Chinese navy will be a strong opponent. And if […] the Americans and the Japanese do not intervene, things will be very difficult for Taiwan.
— Grant Newsham, researcher at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies
The scale of the maneuvers and Beijing's decision to withdraw from crucial bilateral climate dialogues and the defense triggered a shower of condemnations by the United States and its allies.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced Saturday in Manila the total disproportion of the Chinese reaction.
China should not hold discussions on issues such as climate change hostage, as this does not punish the United States, but the whole world , he added.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres meanwhile warned that it is impossible to solve the most difficult problems. most pressing issues in the world without effective dialogue and cooperation between the two countries, according to its spokesperson.