US raps Chinese missile launches near Taiwan, vows security of allies

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The United States on Thursday criticized China’s firing of an estimated 11 ballistic missiles near Taiwan after the House speaker’s visit to the island, promising “further steps” to fulfill its security commitment to Japan and other allies. display in the region.

“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,” said White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. called the missile launches “irresponsible” and inconsistent with purpose. maintain peace and stability in the region.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby answers questions during the daily White House briefing on Aug. 4, 2022 in Washington. (Getty/TBEN)

As for Japan’s announcement that five of its 11 Chinese missiles have landed in the country’s exclusive economic zone, Kirby said it is “another example of how China’s actions are undermining peace and security in the region.”

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The United States expects more exercises and more warmongering and rhetoric from China, he said.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday ordered the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and the ships in his attack group to “monitor the situation,” Kirby said. The carrier, whose home port is in Japan’s Yokosuka, near Tokyo, is believed to be sailing in the Philippine Sea, east of Taiwan.

The US military will conduct “standard air and sea transits” through the strait in the coming weeks, he added, stressing that this will be consistent with the US’s long-standing approach to the freedom of the seas. and defend international law.

“We will take further steps to demonstrate our commitment to the security of our allies in the region, and that includes Japan,” Kirby said.

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But at the same time, he reiterated that the United States has no intention of further escalating tensions in the region and that it will reschedule a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test scheduled for this week.

China’s missile launches were part of a large-scale exercise that began Thursday around Taiwan in response to US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the island — the first in 25 years by a holder of the powerful congressional position — which, despite repeated warnings from Beijing. .

Her visit was the latest demonstration of US support for the democratic island, which is under increasing military pressure from Beijing.

Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province awaiting reunification with the mainland, if necessary by force. It has opposed any form of what it considers “official interaction” between the United States and the territory.

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The United States changed its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan, supplying the island with weapons and spare parts to help it maintain adequate self-defense capabilities.

While China says the increased military activity around Taiwan is a protest against Pelosi’s trip, Kirby claimed they are also a “pretext” to “actually try to establish a new status quo to achieve a new normal where they think they can keep things.” Bee.”

“They’re cooking the frog, right? They’re taking the temperature to the next level, perhaps with the intent of maintaining that kind of intensity or at least being able to do that kind of surgery more often and more regularly going forward,” he said. he.

“That’s a different status quo from a few days ago, a week ago,” the former Pentagon spokesman said.

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