In a statement reported by state media, senior colonel Shi Yi, spokesman for China’s Eastern Theater Command, claimed that rocket troops in several mainland areas launched various types of missiles into designated waters off the eastern coast of Taiwan. The drills were intended to test the accuracy of the weapons and their capacity to deny an enemy access to or control of a region, he said, adding that the missiles carried conventional warheads and all of them struck their targets precisely.
The launches were confirmed by the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense, which identified the missiles as Dongfeng-class ballistic missiles. It said that at 1:56 p.m. local time (05:56 a.m. GMT), the weapons were shot into the waters to the northeast and southwest of Taiwan, and it denounced the exercises as “irrational activities that jeopardize regional peace.” The last time China launched missiles into the waters around Taiwan was in 1996, just before President Lee Teng-hui was re-elected after visiting the US the year before. Beijing claims Taiwan as its own and hasn’t ruled out using force to seize control of the island, threatening “severe consequences” in response to Pelosi’s visit.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Wednesday was the first by a sitting speaker of the House, the third most senior politician in the US, in 25 years.