(NewsNation) — The U.S. is closely monitoring recent Chinese military exercises, some of which are veering into Taiwanese territory.
Flying missiles have actually altered routes for a few international cargo ships, but so far, China is flexing more with its military than with trade.
It has fired off at least 11 missiles since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan after a visit that heightened tensions with China, and bigger exercises and operations are expected to stretch through Sunday.
Chinese fighter jets have poked into Taiwanese airspace multiple times.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it tracked the firing of Chinese Dongfeng series missiles beginning around 1:56 p.m. Thursday.
Long-range rockets have been fired in the Taiwan Strait and China is showing off its military might in several zones surrounding the island.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said its forces are on alert and monitoring the situation while seeking to avoid escalating tensions. Taiwan held civil defense drills last week, and notices were placed on designated air raid shelters months ago.
China has long threatened military retaliation over moves by Taiwan to solidify its de facto independence with the support of key allies, including the U.S.
As the People’s Liberation Army boasts that today’s expected outcome was achieved, Japan is sounding off about five missiles landing in its waters in the Exclusive Economic Zone off Hateruma, an island far south of Japan’s main islands.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said his country protested the missile landings to China as “serious threats to Japan’s national security and the safety of the Japanese people.”
Japan’s Defense Ministry also speculated that four missiles flew over Taipei, the capital city, crossing the mainland, according to a statement its embassy in D.C. posted on Twitter.
Some are concerned that a misfire or accident might trigger retaliation and a new war.
Experts on the region say the activity is fueling Chinese nationalism.
“China is using the exercises to signal its capability to essentially blockade Taiwan,” Sam Bresnick, a senior research analyst at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said. “Even if the U.S. doesn’t get involved, Taiwan would put up a stiff enough defense most likely that ‘quick and easy’ are not really the adjectives they would want to use. But the problem is, many Chinese appear to believe that China could take the island pretty easily.”
In a speech Thursday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called the Chinese missile launches dangerous and irresponsible and vowed that Taiwan will never give up in defending its democracy.
Taiwanese citizens continue to prepare for a possible invasion with drills in emergency medical care and escaping into air raid shelters, efforts that have been ongoing since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. China has also hit back at Taiwan by blocking some food imports … but not the hot commodity of semiconductors.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed the drills Thursday, saying, “I hope very much that Beijing will not manufacture a crisis or seek a pretext to increase its aggressive military activity. We countries around the world believe that escalation serves no one and could have unintended consequences that serve no one’s interests.”
The U.S. missile test postponed due to rising tensions was supposed to happen this week at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Meanwhile, the mood in Taiwan remained calm, the Associated Press reported. Most fishermen will continue to try to fish, as it is the season for squid.
“It’s very close. This will definitely impact us, but if they want to do this, what can we do? We can just avoid that area,” said Chou Ting-tai, who owns a fishing vessel.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.