China army launches military drills around Taiwan as island raises alert level – WATCH

Chinese state TV has shown footage from the beginning of military exercises near Taiwan amid raising tensions in the region following the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island on Tuesday. Taiwan’s defence ministry said late on Tuesday that China was attempting to threaten key ports and cities by announcing drills around the island in the coming days.

The video, released by China’s state-owned channel CCTV, shows naval crewmen on an aircraft carrier running to their battle stations before pilots are shown reading their aircraft.

Chinese fighter jets are then seen taking off from the deck of the ship.

Elsewhere, military vehicles are also shown moving into position in the dead of night. 

Several Chinese warships have sailed near the unofficial dividing line between China and Taiwan since Monday and remained there, according to US defence reports.

The Chinese military has been put on high alert and will launch “targeted military operations” in response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China’s defence ministry said on Tuesday night.

Separately, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said it will conduct joint military operations near Taiwan from Tuesday night.

The exercises will include joint air and sea drills in the north, southwest, southeast of Taiwan, long-range live firing in the Taiwan Strait, and missiles test-launches in the sea east of Taiwan, the Eastern Theatre Command said.

Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late on Tuesday on a trip she said was intended to express American solidarity with the Chinese-claimed island, the first such visit in 25 years and one that risks pushing relations between Washington and Beijing to a new low.

The US House Speaker and her delegation disembarked from a US Air Force transport plan at Songshan Airport in downtown Taipei and were greeted by Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu and Sandra Oudkirk, the top U.S. representative in Taiwan.

“Our congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” Pelosi said in a statement shortly after landing.

“America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.”

Pelosi, who is second in the line of succession to the US presidency and a long-time critic of Beijing, was on a tour of Asia that includes announced visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. Her stop in Taiwan had not been announced but had been widely anticipated.

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