China announces new drills in seas, airspace around Taiwan

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China announces new drills in seas, airspace around Taiwan

TAIPEI: China's military announced new military drills in the seas and airspace around Taiwan on Monday August 8 a day after the end of its largest exercises to protest against the visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island.

The Eastern Theatre Command said it would conduct joint drills focusing on anti-submarine and sea assault operations - confirming the fears of security analysts and diplomats that Beijing would continue to exert pressure on Taiwan's defences.

Taiwan's foreign ministry condemned the move, saying that China, which claims the self-ruled island is its own, is deliberately creating crises. In the face of military intimidation created by China, Taiwan will not be afraid nor back down, and will defend its sovereignty, national security, and free and democratic way of life, the ministry said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden, in his first public comment on Taiwan since Pelosi visited, said he was not worried about Taiwan but was concerned about China's actions in the region.

Biden told reporters in Delaware that they are moving as much as they are. Pelosi's visit irked China, which responded with test launches of ballistic missiles over Taipei for the first time, as well as ditching some lines of dialogue with Washington.

The duration and precise location of the latest drills is not yet known, but Taiwan has already loosened flight restrictions near the six earlier Chinese exercise areas surrounding the island.

Taiwan's defence ministry later said it had detected 39 Chinese air force planes and 13 navy ships in and around the Taiwan Strait on Monday. Twenty-one Chinese air force planes had entered Taiwan's air defence zone, including fighter jets that crossed the median line in the northern part of the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said.