Taiwan accuses China of faking island attack

Taiwan accuses China of faking island attack

Taiwan accused the Chinese military on Saturday of faking an attack on the island, with China intensifying its retaliation after the visit to Taipei by US number three Nancy Pelosi by suspending the Beijing-Washington dialogue on climate in particular.

The stay of Mrs Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, is considered a “provocation” by Beijing, because the United States had pledged not to have official relations with the island territory claimed by China.

In response, Chinese diplomacy announced on Friday evening the “suspension” of judicial and anti-drug cooperation with the United States, but also of bilateral dialogue on climate change – among other areas.

The two countries, which are the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases in absolute terms, struck a climate agreement at the COP26 summit in Glasgow last year.

On the military front, China continues on Saturday its most important exercises ever organized around Taiwan. They are scheduled to last until noon on Sunday (0400 GMT) and are presented as training for a “blockade” of the island.

The Taiwanese authorities announced that they had detected “multiple” Chinese aircraft and ships in the Taiwan Strait, between the island and mainland China.

– “Day and night” –

“Some of them have crossed the middle line” that bisects the strait and “are considered to be conducting a simulated attack on the main island of Taiwan,” Taiwan’s defense ministry said Saturday.

Drawn unilaterally by the United States during the Cold War, this line has never been recognized by Beijing.

The Chinese army announced that it had deployed a large number of fighters, bombers and destroyers the day before to participate in these maneuvers carried out “day and night”, she stressed.

A warning sent to the Taiwanese president, who comes from a pro-independence party, and to the United States, accused by Beijing of having “betrayed” their word by strengthening their relations with the Taiwanese authorities in recent years.

The Chinese military on Saturday published the photo of what it presents as a Taiwanese navy ship, photographed near the coast of the island from the deck of a Chinese military boat located just a few hundred meters away.

She also posted the video of a Chinese air force pilot filming, from his cockpit, the coastline and mountains of Taiwan, images supposed to demonstrate Beijing’s ability to get very close to the island.

– Ambassador summoned –

China has also announced new “live-fire” maneuvers from Saturday and until August 15 in a small maritime area very close to the Chinese port of Lianyungang (east), on the edge of the Yellow Sea that separates China from the Korean peninsula.

According to China’s state-run CCTV television, missiles flew over Taiwan this week during exercises around the island – which would be a first.

The Taipei authorities denounced the actions of their “malicious neighbor”.

The scale of the exercises also drew condemnation from the G7 countries, the United States and some of their allies. The White House summoned the Chinese ambassador, Qin Gang, to lambast behavior deemed “irresponsible”.

Beijing’s decision to suspend dialogue with Washington on climate has sparked another wave of criticism.

“It’s obviously worrying,” Alden Meyer, an analyst at the E3G think tank, which specialises in climate change, told AFP.

“It is impossible to tackle the climate emergency if the two main economies and the two largest emitters do not act, and it is always better if they do it collaboratively.”

– “Irresponsible” –

The spokesman for the US executive for national security affairs, John Kirby, blasted him on Friday for a “fundamentally irresponsible” decision. “China is not only punishing the United States, it is punishing the whole world,” he added.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his dismay. For him, “it is impossible to solve the most pressing problems in the world without effective dialogue and cooperation between the two countries,” his spokesman said.

With China-Taiwan tensions at their highest in nearly 30 years and a risk of military conflict, the deterioration of Beijing-Washington relations could be lasting, experts note.

“The US-China relationship is currently in a very bad way,” Bonnie Glaser, a China specialist at the German Marshall Fund of the United States research center in Washington, tells AFP

She cites as “particularly worrying” the suspension of cooperation agreements crucial for the stability of the region, such as the one on maritime military cooperation aimed precisely at preserving escalation.

However, most analysts agree that, despite these military exercises, Beijing does not want an armed confrontation at the moment.

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