- China has launched several ballistic missiles into waters around Taiwan’s north-east and south-west coasts, Taiwan says
- The launches are part of live fire military drills – China’s biggest-ever in the region – around the island
- This follows top US Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taipei in the face of warnings from Beijing
- Some of the affected areas are just 12 miles (19km) off the island – the closest Beijing’s military exercises have ever come
- Taiwan says the move, which stops ships and planes from using the space, violates its sovereignty and amounts to a blockade
- China sees self-ruled Taiwan – which lies 100 miles from the mainland – as a breakaway province that will eventually be under its control
- This comes at a time when US-China tensions have been growing
What’s been happening?
It’s just gone 20:00 in Taipei, and we’re pausing our coverage. Here’s a recap of today’s developments:
- China has launched several Dongfeng ballistic missiles into waters around Taiwan’s northeast and southwest coasts
- China’s foreign minister called Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan a “manic, irresponsible and highly irrational”
- Delays to global shipping and disruption to supply chains are expected as commercial ships were forced to reroute
- More than 50 international flights to and from Taiwan have been cancelled
- Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council says China is trying to force the international community to stop supporting the island
- Our correspondent in Taipei has said life there is going on as normal, and people are calm but concerned
Today’s coverage was brought to you by Thomas Spender, Yvette Tan, Melissa Zhu, Aoife Walsh and Tiffany Wertheimer.
Blinken: China should not ‘manufacture a crisis’
Barbara Plett Usher
State Department Correspondent, BBC News
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is emphasising that any crisis over Taiwan will be one of Chinese making.
“I hope very much that Beijing will not manufacture a crisis or seek a pretence to increase its aggressive military action,” he said at the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
He also repeated that US policy towards Taiwan hasn’t changed, despite the high-level visit to the island by the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
As China conducts aggressive military drills near Taiwan’s shore, the view in Washington is still that President Xi Jinping aims to “calibrate” his response so as not to ignite open warfare, which neither side wants.
But it’s an explosive development in a brittle relationship.
“The US and China don’t have either the political space or really the relationships and the mechanisms to prevent an incident like that from becoming a full-blown crisis,” says Danny Russel of the Asia Society Policy Institute.
How is Chinese media reporting on all this?
It may surprise you, but on China’s prime time news show Xinwen Lianbo, these military drills weren’t the top story.
The influential news programme, which is thought to follow the Chinese Communist Party’s priorities, led with a political story about President Xi Jinping.
On other outlets, however, the drills were reported very prominently.
Another Chinese news programme, CCTV-13’s 6pm bulletin led with them, showing a video of the long-range missile live fire, and then announcing that the drill was “successfully completed”.
On China’s tightly censored, Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo, CCTV aired a live programme with international relations scholars and military experts analysing the drills.
The view from Taiwan: ‘We’ve had this for 70 years’
BBC News, Taiwan
The objective of these tests by China is clearly intimidation toward Taiwan.
But it is also causing massive disruption to Taiwan’s shipping and airline industries. The waters around Taiwan are some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. And all those ships are now having to re-route.
On the north coast of Taiwan, in the fishing port of Bi Sha Yu, fishermen sitting on the port side were fixing their nets and grumbling loudly: “It’s always us little people who suffer when the politicians fight.”
“But what can we do, it’s too dangerous to go out there now,” said one captain.
Most people the BBC spoke to do not believe China is about to attack Taiwan. “They’re a bunch of gangsters,” said one man fishing on the dockside.
“Those communists talk big, but they won’t do anything. We’ve been living with their threats for 70 years.”
But this is just day one, and there is still plenty of time for China to ramp things up.