Japan scrambles fighter jets after Chinese suicide drones approach Sakishima Islands

Japan Air Self-Defense Force fighter jets were dispatched after two Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles flew over the Sakishima Islands in southern Okinawa Prefecture on Friday, media reported.

Japanese newspaper Yomiuri reported that a surveillance drone and a suicide drone left the East China Sea and entered the Pacific Ocean near Japan’s Sakishima Islands at different times, but followed almost the same route. .

The drones did not violate Japanese airspace, but the Japanese Air Force sent several fighter jets as a precaution, according to the report.

The Eastern Theater Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army on Thursday launched a large-scale military exercise in six water and airspace areas near Taiwan in response to the visit of the U.S. House Speaker , Nancy Pelosi, on the island August 2-3.

File Image: Japanese F-Fighter

Pelosi traveled to Taipei on a tour of Asia on Tuesday despite warnings from China, which considers Taiwan its territory and opposes any direct official foreign contact with the island. She is the highest US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years.

This visit has become a new point of tension in US-China relations in the Taiwan Strait. Washington does not officially recognize Taiwan’s independence.

Earlier, the United States denounced Chinese missile launches in Japan’s exclusive economic zone that were carried out as part of military exercises in response to Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, the strategic communications coordinator said Thursday. of the National Security Council, John Kirby.

“I’m sure all of you who covered the night, the People’s Republic of China launched about 11 ballistic missiles towards Taiwan, which hit the northeast, east and southeast of the island.

We condemn these actions, which are irresponsible and contrary to our longstanding goal of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region,” Kirby said at a press briefing. “China chose to overreact and use the speaker’s visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait.”

Japan has also condemned Chinese military exercises near Taiwan as well as missile launches as undermining regional and global security, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday after meeting with Speaker of the House of Commons. United States, Nancy Pelosi.

“This is a big issue, which affects people’s security, and we strongly condemn China and have expressed protest. China’s actions affect the peace and stability of the region and the world. We have demanded the immediate suspension of Chinese exercises,” Kishida said, as quoted by Kyodo News Agency.

Chinese drills

The Eastern Theater Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said on Friday that its military exercises off the coast of Taiwan were continuing as planned.

“On August 5, the PLA Eastern Theater Command continued joint combat exercises in sea and air space north, southwest and east of Taiwan Island in accordance with the plan” , the command said in a statement on WeChat.

This visit triggered a new round of tension in the Taiwan Strait. Besides launching military exercises this week, Beijing imposed sanctions on two Taiwanese foundations for separatist activities, suspended the export of natural sand to the island and the import of citrus fruits, as well as certain types of fishing from Taiwan.

The U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan moved hundreds of miles from Taiwan after Chinese drills off the island’s coast were announced, Meng Xiangqing, a professor at China’s National Defense University, said on Friday. People’s Liberation Army, on China Central Television.

“The USS Ronald Reagan, accompanying Pelosi, retreated about several hundred kilometers overnight,” Meng Xiangqing was quoted as saying by television channel CCTV.

The US Navy aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan headed for Taiwan ahead of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island, the newspaper reported in late July. Chinese South China Morning Post.

In response to Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, the Chinese military began large-scale live-fire drills around Taiwan on Thursday and will continue until 12 p.m. local time.

China’s Foreign Ministry said Washington and Taipei have yet to deal with any negative consequences of the visit, which Beijing has opposed for several months.

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