VSFive of the nine ballistic missiles fired by China are suspected of having landed in Japan’s EEZ,” Japanese Defense Minister Kishi told reporters on Thursday, as China began major military maneuvers in the waters surrounding Taiwan after a visit by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
“Japan has lodged a protest with China through diplomatic channels,” Kishi said, calling the incident a “serious issue that affects our national security and that of our citizens.”
Some islands in the department of Okinawa, in the far south of Japan, are only a few tens of kilometers from Taiwan, and the minister specified that this was the first time that Chinese ballistic missiles had entered the Japanese EEZ.
The figure of nine missiles was assessed by Japan, he added.
A response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan
China on Thursday launched military exercises on an unprecedented scale around Taiwan in response to the visit of Ms Pelosi, who stayed Tuesday evening and Wednesday on the island despite strong warnings from Beijing, which considers Taiwan as one of its provinces.
Ms. Pelosi’s initiative is seen by China as a provocation, support for supporters of Taiwanese independence and a reneging on the United States’ promise not to have official relations with the island. In response, the Chinese military has launched a series of military exercises in six sea areas all around Taiwan, along busy trade routes and sometimes just 20 kilometers from Taiwan’s shores.
The maneuvers, which began at noon Thursday (0400 GMT), included “conventional missile fire” at waters off the east coast of Taiwan, said Shi Yi, a spokesman for the Chinese military.