With tensions high over Taiwan, Japan’s defense minister called the ballistic missile drill a “grave issue”
Five Chinese ballistic missiles have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi claimed on Thursday. China previously scrapped high-level talks with Japan and launched a series of missile attacks into the waters around Taiwan.
According to Kishi, this is the first Chinese missile that has touched down in Japanese waters.
“This is a grave issue that concerns our country’s national security and the safety of the people,”Kishi stated that Tokyo had filed a diplomatic protest against the Chinese government.
Japan’s exclusive economic zone is vast, and its extent is disputed by several nations, including China. The Japanese island of Yonaguni sits just 108 kilometers (67 miles) east of Taiwan, while Japan also claims sovereignty over the uninhabited Senkaku islands to Taiwan’s northeast, in an area of the East China Sea that overlaps with China’s own exclusive economic zone.
China had earlier announced that it was conducting a long-range, live-fire drill in the area. Chinese media reported that they may have used Dongfeng DF-17 rockets. Chinese journalists described the incorporation of these missiles into drills, which were equipped with hypersonic glider warheads that can strike targets as far away as 2,500 kilometers.
According to Taiwan’s government, the missiles were fired into the waters northeastern and southeast of the island. Taipei was activated. “relevant defense systems”In response.
China held large-scale military exercises in the days before and after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Tuesday. Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan – a position that the US officially acknowledges – and argued that the visit by Pelosi, who is third in line to the US presidency, amounted to a near-official endorsement of Taiwanese independence.
Taiwan’s military countered the Chinese exercises with drills of its own.
Japan is not neutral in this showdown. Along with the rest of the G7 group, Tokyo signed a declaration on Wednesday condemning Beijing’s flexing of its military muscle. “There is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait,” the statement read, adding that Beijing’s “escalatory response risks increasing tensions and destabilizing the region.” Meanwhile, Japanese commenters speculated that China’s missile drills may be intended as a warning to their country too, considering the strategic locations of Japan’s westernmost islands and the Japanese government’s general pro-Western stance.
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Beijing responded to Japan’s signing of the G7 statement by canceling a planned meeting between the Chinese and Japanese foreign ministers at the ongoing ASEAN summit in Cambodia. Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said China is “strongly displeased” with Japan’s “irresponsible remarks.”