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China kicks off live-fire military drills in Taiwan Strait

PLA Eastern Theater Command fires into eastern part of Taiwan Strait

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Chinese Dongfeng 16 ballistic missiles on display during PLA military parade. 

Chinese Dongfeng 16 ballistic missiles on display during PLA military parade.  (CNA photo)

Update-- The Ministry of National Defense (MND) issued a press release at 3:10 p.m. Thursday afternoon (August 4) saying China has launched multiple variants of Dongfeng ballistic missiles in waters northeast and southwest of Taiwan at about 1:56 pm, CNA reported.

The MND said it is using early warning, surveillance, and reconnaissance methods to grasp real-time developments of the drills announced by China. It has activated defense systems and strengthened combat readiness, the MND added.

The defense ministry also condemned China's irrational actions to undermine regional peace.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China’s People’s Liberation Army's Eastern Theater Command has begun live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait.

The PLA kicked off a long-range precision strike exercise in a designated drill zone located in the eastern half of the Taiwan Strait at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday (August 4), according to a CCTV report. Rocket launchers may have been used in the drill, the report said.

China had announced on Aug. 2 it would conduct drills in six designated drill zones in waters close to Taiwan from Aug. 4-7, in response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan from Aug. 2-3. Pelosi is the first house speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, since Newt Gingrich’s trip in 1997.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Wednesday (Aug. 3) accused China of blockading Taiwan with drills. MND spokesman Sun Li-fang (孫立方) said that some areas of the PLA's live-fire exercises encroach on Taiwan's territorial waters and endanger international waterways.

He vowed that the military will "resolutely defend national sovereignty, has absolute ability and confidence, shoulders the responsibility of guarding the territory, and will counter any actions that violate national sovereignty." He added that the military is using joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to fully grasp the dynamics at sea and in the air.

The Group of Seven foreign ministers on Wednesday urged China to refrain from unilaterally altering the regional status quo by force and to peacefully find a solution to cross-strait issues in a joint statement.

They also reiterated their commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and called on all parties to “remain calm, exercise restraint, act with transparency, and maintain open lines of communication to prevent misunderstanding.”