China Fires Missiles Into Waters Off Taiwan in Largest Ever Drills

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China fired multiple missiles around Taiwan on Thursday, launching unprecedented military drills a day after a visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-ruled island that Beijing regards as its sovereign territory.

The exercises, China’s largest ever in the Taiwan Strait, began as scheduled at midday and included live-firing in the waters to the north, south and east of Taiwan, bringing tensions in the area to their highest in a quarter century.

“Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.” Rev. 16:12 

China’s Eastern Theatre Command said at around 3:30 p.m. (0730 GMT) it had completed multiple firings of conventional missiles in waters off the eastern coast of Taiwan as part of planned exercises in six different zones that Beijing has said will run until noon on Sunday.

Taiwan‘s defence ministry said 11 Chinese Dongfeng ballistic missiles had been fired in waters around the island. The last time China fired missiles into waters around Taiwan was in 1996.

Taiwan officials condemned the drills, saying they violate United Nations rules, invade its territorial space and are a direct challenge to free air and sea navigation.

Tensions had been building ahead of Pelosi’s unannounced but closely watched visit to Taiwan, made in defiance of heated warnings from China.

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