“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” – a youth comedy

AFP

China launches missiles near Taiwan and the US urges to reduce tensions

China launched 11 missiles near Taiwan on Thursday during vast military exercises following a visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, firings that Washington called an “exaggerated” reaction and urged de-escalation. Despite warnings from Beijing, which sees Taiwan as part of its territory, Pelosi made a lightning visit to Taipei on Tuesday, in which she assured that the United States “will not abandon” the autonomous island. On Thursday, she arrived in Japan, the last leg of her Asian tour. For China, the initiative of the Democratic legislator, second in line to succeed President Joe Biden, was a “provocation”. In response, she launched a series of military exercises around Taiwan, spanning some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Washington accused Beijing of having reacted “exaggeratedly” to Pelosi’s visit and warned that its aircraft carrier “USS Reagan” will continue to “monitor” the surroundings of Taiwan. The United States also announced that it had postponed an intercontinental missile test “to avoid a further escalation of tensions,” according to a White House spokesman, John Kirby. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he hoped China would not “look for a pretext to increase its aggressive military operations.” Beijing’s maneuvers included “conventional missile fire” into the waters off Taiwan’s eastern shores, said Shi Yi, a spokesman for the Chinese military. The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense confirmed the launch of “11 Dongfeng-type ballistic missiles” in “waters to the north, south and east of Taiwan.” In addition, he denounced that 22 military planes crossed the “median line” of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial coordinate but rarely crossed, halfway between the coasts of China and those of the autonomous island. – “Serious impact” – Japan called for an “immediate cessation” of the Chinese maneuvers, after indicating that five missiles allegedly fell in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and that four of them could have “flown over the island of Taiwan”. “Chinese actions this time have a serious impact on peace and security in the region,” Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting of Southeast Asian countries in Cambodia. The Chinese military exercises, the largest in recent decades, are scheduled to last until Sunday. Beijing defended the exercises, as well as others in recent days, as “just and necessary” and blamed the United States and its allies for the escalation. “In the current controversy over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the United States is the provocateur and China is the victim,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said. A Chinese military source told AFP that the exercises are being held “in preparation for actual combat.” “If Taiwanese forces come into contact with the PLA (Chinese People’s Liberation Army) and accidentally fire a weapon, the PLA will take severe action and all consequences will be on the Taiwanese side,” she added. – Blockade the island – The exercises seek to simulate a “blockade” of Taiwan and include “the assault of targets at sea, the attack of targets on land and the control of air space,” according to the official Chinese agency Xinhua. The hypothesis of an invasion of Taiwan, with 23 million inhabitants, is unlikely. But, since the election in 2016 of the current president, Tsai Ing-wen, the threats to carry it out have increased. Tsai, who belongs to a pro-independence party unlike the previous government, refuses to recognize that the island and the mainland are part of “one China”. In recent years, visits to Taipei by foreign officials and legislators have multiplied, which has increased Beijing’s indignation. In response, China has sought to isolate Taiwan diplomatically and increased military pressure against the island. However, analysts have told AFP that Chinese President Xi Jinpeng is not looking for an escalation, at least for now. “The last thing Xi wants is for an accidental war to break out,” a few months before the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party that should give him a new mandate, said Titus Chen, associate professor of Political Science at National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan. . But, for Amanda Hsiao, China analyst for the International Crisis Group, “the announcement of the Chinese military exercises represents a clear escalation of the current base of Chinese military activities around Taiwan and of the latest crisis in the Taiwan Strait of 1995-1996”. “By acting like this, Beijing indicates that it rejects any sovereignty” of the Taiwanese authorities, she added. bys-oho/jta/ssy/cwl/ser/mas-es/zm/sag/js/ad

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