China begins military exercises around Taiwan; Vietnamese carriers advised to avoid nearby areas
China Taiwan latest news: China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) began military exercises around Taiwan, news agency AFP reported on Thursday. Meanwhile, it was reported Taiwan is preparing for war without seeking war.
According to the news agency, Taiwan's defence ministry said it is closely watching the drills and said that the island was prepared for conflict, but would not seek it.
The development comes a day after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan amid threats by China over the decision.
In an earlier warning, China said it would conduct military exercises off its coast opposite Taiwan after warning Nancy Pelosi to scrap possible plans to visit the island democracy, which Beijing claims as part of its territory.
The ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, was conducting “live-fire exercises” near the Pingtan islands off Fujian province.
The Maritime Safety Administration warned ships to avoid the area.
Such exercises usually involve artillery. The one-sentence announcement gave no indication whether the exercise also might include missiles, fighter planes or other weapons.
Vietnamese carriers advised to avoid areas near Taiwan
Meanwhile, Vietnamese carriers have been asked to avoid flying in areas near Taiwan for a few days as China conducts military exercises.
Dinh Viet Thang, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, as quoted by local media, said that they received an official notice from Chinese authorities asking airlines operating in Asia to avoid flying near the island of Taiwan from 11 am Thursday until Friday (local time).
Accordingly, CAAV has informed Vietnamese airlines to adjust their flight routes.
"Airlines can still operate flights to Taiwan normally and can decide on their own to postpone or cancel flights if necessary," Thang said, Vn Express reported.
Pelosi's visit, which was also the highest level of US visits in more than two decades, left China heavily infuriated and the communist nation warned the US that it will "pay the price".
Her trip has heightened US-China tensions more than visits by other members of Congress because of her high-level position as leader of the House of Representatives.
She is the first speaker of the house to come to Taiwan in 25 years since Newt Gingrich in 1997.
On Wednesday, China's customs department announced a suspension of imports of citrus fruits, chilled white striped hairtail and frozen horse mackerel from Taiwan, while its commerce ministry banned the export of natural sand to Taiwan.
Meanwhile, in Washington, US national security spokesperson John Kirby said there was "no reason for this visit to become a spurring event for a crisis or conflict".
(With inputs from agencies)
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