The United States “must contest” China firing multiple missiles over Taiwan, according to the top US military commander. Seventh Fleet commander Vice Admiral Karl Thomas reportedly called for Washington’s action against Beijing or else, China would normalise such actions. He also called China’s measure “a gorilla in the room”. Thomas weighed in on the situation after China held military drills around the self-ruled democratic island earlier this month but Taiwan did not confirm if any missiles flew directly above it.

The present geopolitical tensions involving China’s encircling drills around Taiwan took place after Beijing was left furious over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. Earlier this month, she became the first US House Speaker to arrive in Taiwan after 25 years after dismissing China’s repeated warnings. In the aftermath of Pelosi leading a delegation to Taiwan, Beijing expressed staunch disagreement, imposed trade sanctions on the island and launched multiple-day military drills as it claims Taipei as its own territory. Her visit was followed by another US Congressional delegation.

As per a BBC report, a US military commander told reporters in Singapore, “It’s very important that we contest this type of thing. I know that the gorilla in the room is launching missiles over Taiwan…It’s irresponsible to launch missiles over Taiwan into international waters.”

“If you don’t challenge it… all of a sudden it can become just like the islands in the South China Sea [that] have now become military outposts. They now are full functioning military outposts that have missiles on them, large runways, hangers, radars, listening posts,” he reportedly added.

China’s 17 aircraft, 5 ships cross Taiwan Strait median line

As the US admiral touted Washington’s action, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said that China’s 17 military aircraft and five ships crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait. According to the island’s defence ministry, of the 17 People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) planes, 10 Chinese aircraft, including four Sukhoi Su-30 fighter planes, three Shenyang J-11 jet fighters, two Shenyang J-16 jet fighters, and one Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait. In response, Taiwan sent combat air patrol aircraft and ships along with deploying shore-based missile-based systems to monitor Beijing’s activities.

5 PLAN vessels and 17 PLA aircraft around our surrounding region were detected today (August 16, 2022) until 1700(GMT+8). #ROCArmedForces have monitored the situation and responded to these activities with aircraft in CAP, naval vessels, and land-based missile systems. — 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) August 16, 2022

Image: AP