Beijing’s missile tests are “arbitrary” and “threatening,” Taipei claims
Taiwan accused China on Thursday of “following the example of North Korea” by firing ballistic missiles near the territory of other countries. Earlier, Japan said that a number of Chinese missiles splashed down in its exclusive economic zone.
Beijing announced on Thursday afternoon that it had fired several long-range weapons into the eastern part of the Taiwan Strait, with Chinese media outlets reporting that Dongfeng DF-17 hypersonic missiles may have been used in the exercise. Taiwan said that the projectiles, 11 in total, landed to the northeast and southeast of the island, while Japan claimed that five of these missiles landed in its exclusive economic zone, which overlaps with China’s maritime zone close to Taiwan.
The Chinese missile launches threatened “Taiwan's national security, raising regional tensions, and affecting normal international conditions, transportation and trade,” read a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei.
Taiwan “strongly condemns the Chinese government following the example of North Korea in the arbitrary test-firing of missiles in waters close to other countries,” the statement continued, concluding with a call to the “international community” to condemn China’s actions.
China has held several military exercises in the days leading up to and following a visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday. China claims sovereignty over the self-governed island, and while the US officially acknowledges this claim, Beijing considers a visit by such a high-ranking US politician to be a near-official endorsement of Taiwanese independence.
Prior to Pelosi’s visit, which was not confirmed until hours before her landing, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned his US counterpart, Joe Biden, not to “play with fire.” Following the trip, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described Pelosi’s visit as “a complete farce” and declared that “those who offend China will be punished.”
Taipei’s comparison of China to North Korea comes amid a period of increased military activity by the government of Kim Jong-un. The South Korean military claimed last month to have detected “trajectories” consistent with artillery shelling, and said in June that the north had fired projectiles from multiple rocket launchers and test-fired eight short-range ballistic missiles eastward.
North Korea has fired six projectiles – four rockets and two ballistic missiles – over Japanese land since the late 1990s. The two missiles passed over the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido in July and September 2017, prompting authorities to send alert messages to citizens.
The north is also ready to conduct its seventh nuclear test “at any time,” Sung Kim, the US special representative to North Korea, claimed in June, after a lull in testing since an underground detonation in 2017.