Chinese and Taiwanese warships played high-seas “cat and mouse” on Sunday, according to a report, as Beijing ends its four days of unprecedented military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.
The air and naval drills were coordinated in reaction to a visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and included test launches of ballistic missiles over the island’s capital for the first time.
China, which sees self-ruled Taiwan as a part of its territory, also cut off communication links with Washington.
Reporters citing a person with knowledge of the occurrence, said some 10 warships each from China and Taiwan sailed at close quarters in the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, with some Chinese vessels passing the median line, the unofficial buffer separating the two sides.
As Chinese forces “pressed” the line, the Taiwan side remained close to monitor and, where possible, deprived the Chinese the ability to cross, the person informed the Journalist.
“The two sides are showing restraint,” the person said, depicting the maneuvers as high seas “cat and mouse”. “One side tries to cross, and the other stands in the way and forces them to a more disadvantaged position and eventually return to the other side.”
The island’s defense ministry in a press release said that multiple Chinese military ships, aircraft, and drones were replicating attacks on the island and its navy.
It stated that its forces scrambled jets to warn away 20 Chinese aircraft on Saturday, including 14 that passed through the median line. It also found 14 Chinese ships conducting activity around the Taiwan Strait. It added that its shore-based anti-ship missiles and its Patriot surface-to-air missiles were on standby.
The Chinese operations, focussed on six locations around the island that China states as its own, commenced on Thursday and was scheduled to last until midday on Sunday, the official Xinhua News Agency reported last week. China’s military disclosed on Saturday that the exercises, north, southwest and east of Taiwan, had a focus on land-strike and sea-assault capabilities.
“These activities are a significant escalation in China’s efforts to change the status quo. They are provocative, irresponsible and raise the risk of miscalculation,” a White House spokesperson said.
“They are also at odds with our longstanding goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which is what the world expects.”
China says its relations with Taiwan are an internal issue and it has the right to bring the island under its control, by force if necessary. Taiwan debunked China’s claims saying only Taiwan’s people can decide their future.
China has also cautioned the US not to “act rashly” and cause a greater crisis.
Reacting to the response to Pelosi’s visit, the Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper stated that China had adopted “effective measures that fully demonstrates that China is fully determined and capable of safeguarding national unity and safeguarding … sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
As part of its reaction to Pelosi’s visit, China also stopped communication through various channels with the US, including between military theater commands and on climate change.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken blamed China for taking “irresponsible” steps and moving away from prioritizing peaceful resolution towards the use of force.
Speaking during a visit to the Philippines, Blinken stated that the US had been hearing concern from allies about what he called China’s harmful and destabilizing actions, but Washington sought to avoid intensifying the situation.
He said China’s cessation of bilateral discussion in eight key areas was a decision that would punish the world.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday blamed Blinken for spreading “misinformation”.