The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force has fired 11 ballistic missiles into waters surrounding Taiwan as part of a series of military exercises, the Ministry of Defense in Taipei said in a Thursday statement.
According to the MoD, the PLARF fired 11 DF-15 short-range ballistic missiles into waters to the northeast and southwest of Taiwan.
The Taiwan military “have monitored the situation with various means, while our defense systems have been activated. We condemn such irrational action that has jeopardized regional peace,” read a Thursday statement from the MoD.
Additionally, the Chinese claimed to have conducted live fire drills in the Taiwan Strait.
“Long-range armed live fire precision missile strikes were carried out on selected targets in the eastern area of the Taiwan Strait,” the PLA announced, according to The Associated Press.
“The expected outcome was achieved.”
Five of missiles allegedly landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to a release from the Japanese Ministry of Defense.
China launched two of the ballistic missiles from inland China while the others came from the coast of the Fujian Province, according to the Japanese release.
The planned drills kicked off just after U.S. House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) visit to Taiwan this week. The visit was part of a larger Congressional delegation trip to the Western Pacific.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan,”manic, irresponsible and irrational,” reported the BBC.
In addition, the PLA Navy has deployed both its aircraft carriers CNS Liaoning (16) and CNS Shandong (17) this week, USNI News reported.
For its part, the U.S. has positioned a carrier strike group and two big deck amphibious ships embarked with Marine F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters are underway to the east of Taiwan, defense officials confirmed to USNI News on Thursday morning.
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), its escorts and Carrier Air Wing 5 and its escorts are underway in the Philippine Sea. USS Tripoli (LHA-7), which has embarked with up to 20 F-35Bs, is off Okinawa and USS America (LHA-6) has recently departed Sasebo, Japan, a defense official confirmed to USNI News on Thursday.
Neither the Chinese drills near Taiwan threatened the U.S. ships nor has the PLAN acted unprofessionally toward the deployed groups, a defense official told USNI News.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has directed the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group to stay in the general area in order to monitor the situation, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said at White House briefing Thursday afternoon.
“We will conduct standard air and maritime transits through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks consistent, again, with our long standing approach to defending freedom of the seas. and international law,” Kirby said.
The live fire drills are an escalation of Beijing’s actions, Kirby said, adding that China has doubled the number of aircraft it has flown over the line separating Taiwan and China compared to 2016-2020.
Kirby announced that the U.S. will postpone a intercontinental ballistic missile test in response to the increased tensions.
“China engages in destabilizing military exercises around Taiwan, the United States is demonstrating instead, the behavior of a responsible nuclear power by reducing the risks of miscalculation and misperception,” Kirby said.
Lines of communication are open between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Kirby said.
“Well we certainly would like to see the tensions deescalate, and if that’s best done through diplomacy, the United States would fully support that,” Kirby said. “We want to see the tensions come down. I would submit to you that they could come down very easily by just having the Chinese stop these these very aggressive military drills and flying missiles in and around the Taiwan Strait.”