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Taiwan accuses China of simulating an invasion of the island

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Taiwan accused the Chinese army on Saturday of simulating an attack on its territory and criticized the “irresponsible” behavior of China’s “autocratic regime”, which redoubled its retaliation for the visit to the island of US lawmaker Nancy Pelosi.

Relations between the two superpowers plummeted following House Speaker Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing island that China considers part of its territory.

Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan this week was seen as a “provocation” by China, which in retaliation launched its biggest military exercises around Taiwan in decades.

According to analysts, the maneuvers, which will last until Sunday, are aimed at blockading the island.

Taiwanese authorities on Saturday accused China of staging an attack on its main island.

There are “multiple batches of communist planes and ships carrying out activities around the Taiwan Strait…,” the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

“They were considered to be carrying out a simulated attack on the main island of Taiwan,” it added.

In response, the island’s military mobilized air and ground patrols and deployed ground-based missile systems, the same source said in a tweet.

– ‘Brutal actions’ –

The Mainland Affairs Council, the Taiwanese body that manages relations with mainland China, denounced Beijing’s “brutal and deplorable actions.”

“We call on all our democratic partners around the world to continue to support Taiwan and counter the irresponsible behavior of an autocratic regime that undermines peace with its military adventurism,” he said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met his Philippine counterpart on Saturday and said Washington was “determined to act responsibly” to avert a global crisis.

The environment became the latest casualty in the geopolitical battle, with Beijing saying it would withdraw from talks and cooperation agreements with Washington, particularly on climate change and defense cooperation.

Both countries, the world’s biggest polluters, had pledged to work together to speed up climate action, but the deal now looks uncertain.

China should not take talks on global issues such as climate change “hostage,” Blinken added. This “does not punish the United States, but the world,” he insisted.

“It is impossible to address the climate emergency if the number one and two economies and the number one and two emitters do not take action,” Alden Meyer, of the E3G climate think tank, told AFP.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that the two superpowers must continue to work together for the good of the world.

“For the secretary general, there is no way to solve the world’s most urgent problems without effective dialogue and cooperation between the two countries,” said his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

– New normal? –

The scale and intensity of the Chinese exercises have drawn criticism in the United States and other countries. The White House summoned the Chinese ambassador to Washington on Friday to complain about Beijing’s actions.

In a statement, both Blinken and the foreign ministers of Japan and Australia called on China to end its maneuvers.

But Beijing said it would also hold a live-fire drill in the southern Yellow Sea — located between China and the Korean peninsula — from Saturday to Aug. 15.

In a sign of how close they have come to Taiwan, Chinese forces on Friday released video of a pilot filming the island’s coastline and mountains from his cockpit.

And the army’s Eastern Command shared a photo purportedly taken from a warship patrolling near Taiwan clearly showing the island’s coastline.

According to Chinese state television CCTV, the Chinese missiles flew directly over Taiwan during the maneuvers, although it was not confirmed.

But Taipei remains defiant, insisting it will not bow to its “evil neighbor.”

Experts point out, however, that the decline in relations between the two superpowers could deepen and be long-lasting.

“The relationship is very bad right now,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the German Marshall Fund.

The suspension on Friday of the military and maritime dialogue between the two countries is “particularly worrying”, he said.

“We don’t know what else they will do,” he added.

John Culver, a former CIA analyst for Asia, considered that Beijing’s main intention with its military exercises is to change the status quo.

“I think this is the new normal,” he said in a discussion organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“The Chinese want to show … that a line was crossed with the visit” by Pelosi, he said.

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