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China fires missiles in ‘unprecedented’ drills around Taiwan

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Chinese military fires ballistic missiles in exercises state media framed as a war plan rehearsal.

(Al Jazeera) – China fired a barrage of ballistic missiles into the waters around Taiwan as it launched large-scale military exercises in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said it detected 22 Chinese fighter jets briefly crossing the Taiwan Strait’s “median line” during Thursday’s exercises, and Taipei scrambled fighter jets in response.

“Air defense missile systems” were deployed to track the jets and radio warnings were broadcast, according to an update on the defence ministry’s website.

Chinese state media said the live-fire drills in six areas around Taiwan got under way at noon local time (04:00 GMT) and will continue until the same time on Sunday.

China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, told Al Jazeera the heightened military activity was a direct response to Pelosi’s controversial visit.

Pelosi was the highest-profile US official to visit Taiwan in decades, defying a series of stark threats from Beijing, which views the island as its territory.

“We hope that the United States will draw a lesson from such a situation, that they should honour their commitment on the ‘One China’ principle, and not support any claim of independence. We hope they will stop doing anything further by undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Zhang.

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