Chinese aircraft, ships carry out attack simulation exercises: Taiwanese MoD

Taiwanese troops were on high alert in both areas, the ministry said. Photo: Annabelle Chih/Getty Images

Saturday morning saw the Chinese-Taiwanese tensions cross another threshold as Chinese military aircraft and ships carried out attack simulation exercises towards Taiwan's main island, Reuters reported Taiwan's defence ministry as saying in a statement.

The presence of several batches of Chinese aircraft was detected in the Taiwan Strait with some crossing the median line, the ministry said.

The ministry went on to say that Taiwan’s army dealt with the situation by using air reconnaissance patrol forces, naval ships and shore-based missiles, as well as broadcasting a warning. No information about fighting was immediately available and it seems no military engagement took place.

Flares against drones

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said earlier on Saturday that it had fired flares late on Friday to warn away drones and aircraft flying over outlying Kinmen and Matsu Islands, according to Reuters. There were as many as seven drones that the Taiwanese forces deterred by firing flares, according to the country’s Defence Ministry. The drones flew over its outlying Kinmen Islands.

Meanwhile, the unidentified aircraft flew over Taiwan’s outlying Matsu Islands.

Taiwanese troops were on high alert in both areas, the ministry said. The islands lie just off the coast of mainland China, wherefrom Beijing launched large-scale military drills this week in response to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Taiwan’s military has already fired flares to warn away aircraft during the period of escalating tensions with China. On Thursday, Taiwan’s defence ministry said that unidentified aircraft, probably drones, had flown on Wednesday night above the area of its Kinmen Islands and that it had fired flares to drive them away.

Major General Chang Zone-sung of the Army's Kinmen Defense Command told Reuters that the Chinese drones came in a pair and flew into the Kinmen area twice on Wednesday night, at around 9 pm (1300 GMT) and 10 pm.