US National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby (File photo)
WASHINGTON: The United States denounced China’s missile launches in Japan’s exclusive economic zone that were carried out as part of military exercises in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby said on Thursday.
On August 4, China launched multiple ballistic missiles into waters to the northeast and southwest of Taiwan, threatening Taiwan’s national security and escalating regional tensions in the region.
This follows Pelosi’s high-stakes visit that marks the first visit by a US House Speaker in 25 years since Newt Gingrich came to Taiwan in April 1997. It was also Pelosi’s first trip to Taiwan in over two decades.
“I’m sure all of you that covered overnight, the People’s Republic of China launched an estimated 11 ballistic missiles towards Taiwan which impacted to the northeast, the east and southeast of the island. We condemn these actions which are irresponsible and at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the region,” Kirby told a briefing.
“China has chosen to overreact and use the speaker’s visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait,” he added.
A number of countries including the US on Thursday condemned the firing of five ballistic missiles by the Chinese military, which fell into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
This comes as China is conducting live-fire drills in response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The missiles that China launched yesterday fell in an area located southwest of Hateruma Island in the southern prefecture of Okinawa.
Japan’s Kyodo News reported that Tokyo has asked Beijing to immediately stop the military drills. “This is a grave issue that concerns our country’s national security and the safety of the people,” said Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi on Thursday.
The Fumio Kishida government lodged a diplomatic protest with the Chinese government. The Japanese publication has said the government slammed Chinese drills near Senkaku Islands, saying that the area overlaps with the EEZ.
Taiwan also strongly condemned China’s “North Korea” style missile firing into waters near the self-governed island as it asked Beijing to exercise self-restraint. (ANI)