China says it is carrying out new military exercises in the Yellow and Bohai seas after a barrage of drills that encircled Taiwan in recent days.
The initial exercises were triggered by Beijing’s fury at a visit to Taipei by the US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
Taiwan has accused China of practising for an invasion of the island, which Beijing sees as its own.
On Sunday a senior Chinese military analyst said China would now conduct “regular” military drills near Taiwan.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be under Beijing’s control. But Taiwan is a self-ruled island that sees itself as distinct from the mainland.
Any hint of recognition of this by world leaders, however, enrages China.
With the series of military drills around Taiwan expected to finish on Sunday, the Chinese maritime authorities announced that a number of other military drills are being carried out in other locations.
In the Yellow Sea – located between China and the Korean peninsula – new daily military drills were due to start from Saturday until the middle of August, and include live-fire exercises.
In addition, a month-long military operation in one area of the Bohai sea – off China’s east coast – started on Saturday. A separate military drill also took place in the northern part of the Bohai sea.
The announcements come as a senior military analyst quoted in Chinese state media said China would conduct “regular” military drills on the eastern side of the median line in the Taiwan Strait from now on. The median line is an unofficial buffer separating the two sides.
The exercises were expected to end by midday on Sunday, but neither China nor Taiwan has confirmed their conclusion.
Taiwan’s transport ministry, however, said most of its airline and sailing routes could gradually resume as of midday on Sunday.
But it added that it would continue to direct flights away from one of the drill zones until Monday morning.
In Taiwan, people have largely reacted to China’s actions over the last four days with a large shrug.
Videos posted on social media showed hundreds of people enjoying a large street party on Saturday night in one of Taiwan’s outlying islands close to the Chinese coast.
The collective message to Beijing seems to be that its intimidation will not work.
But military analysts have not been so sanguine.
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
Taiwan’s own defence ministry says the last four days of drills are a practice run for a future invasion.
And the US has again condemned the drills saying their objective is to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.
Washington has also condemned Beijing for breaking off cooperation with the US on combating climate change.
In a statement, the US government called China the world’s largest emitter, and said by refusing to engage on critical steps to control climate change, China was not punishing America, it was punishing the world.