The announcement came just one day after the scheduled end of the CCP’s largest ever military exercises around the island, ostensibly launched in protest against a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week.
China’s Eastern Theater Command, which oversees the portion of the mainland closest to Taiwan, said the new joint drills would focus on anti-submarine and sea assault operations. In an unprecedented escalation, the CCP also said that it would now regularly commence military drills on Taiwan’s side of the Taiwan Strait.
The move is likely to be seen as a major provocation by the international community, as the CCP has historically been reticent to cross the median line of the strait. CCP authorities also ceased communications between Chinese and American military leaders within the theater late last week, increasing the possibility of miscommunication.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry condemned the move, saying that China was deliberately creating crises. It demanded CCP leadership stop its hostile military actions and “pull back from the edge” of conflict.
“In the face of military intimidation created by China, Taiwan will not be afraid nor back down, and will more firmly defend its sovereignty, national security, and free and democratic way of life,” the ministry said in a statement.
The comment echoed language used by the White House last week, which accused the CCP of manufacturing crises to justify increased military intimidation of Taiwan.
The CCP maintains that Taiwan is a rogue province of China that must be united with the mainland. CCP leadership has not ruled out the use of force to accomplish that goal. However, Taiwan has been self-governed since 1949 and has never been controlled by the CCP.
CCP leadership has fumed over Pelosi’s trip for nearly a week, going so far as to launch 11 ballistic missiles over Taipei for the first time, some of which fell into the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Despite the furor, it is not unusual for congressional delegations to visit Taiwan.
International forums, including the G-7 and ASEAN, also condemned the CCP’s aggression in the region and urged the regime to pursue a peaceful outcome to tensions.
“There is no justification to use a visit as [a] pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait,” said a statement issued by the G-7.
“We call on the PRC [People’s Republic of China] not to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the region, and to resolve cross-Strait differences by peaceful means.”
The duration and precise location of the latest drills are not yet known. Taiwan has already eased some flight restrictions near the six earlier Chinese exercise areas surrounding the island, which interfered with international travel.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said it detected 39 Chinese military aircraft and 13 naval vessels in and around the Taiwan Strait on Monday. It added that 21 Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, including fighter jets that crossed the median line in the northern part of the Taiwan Strait.
Beyond the firing of 11 ballistic missiles, Chinese warships, fighter jets, and drones maneuvered extensively around the island, drawing responding forces from Taiwan’s military.
Shortly before the first set of exercises ended on Aug. 7, about 10 warships each from China and Taiwan maneuvered around one another in close quarters near the median line of the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said that the CCP’s newly designated no-fly zones encircling the island had “compressed” Taiwan’s training space and would affect the normal operation of international flights and air routes for the foreseeable future.