Beijing evokes the “possible fall of rocket debris”. China will ban all maritime navigation for a few hours on Sunday in an area north of Taiwan, Chinese maritime authorities announced on Thursday. Boats will be “prohibited from entering” on Sunday between 9 a.m. (3 a.m. French time) and 3 p.m. (9 a.m. French time), said the maritime authorities of Fujian (east), the Chinese province located opposite in Taiwan.
The perimeter is located about 160 kilometers from Taipei. On Wednesday, the Taiwanese Ministry of Transport announced that China would also briefly impose a no-fly zone in the north of the island, due to “space activities”. These restrictions will last 27 minutes, from 9:30 a.m. Sunday (3:30 a.m. French time) to 9:57 a.m. local (3:57 a.m.). According to the Taiwanese Ministry of Transport, Beijing had originally announced a three-day closure, before changing its plans after objections from Taipei.
Context of tensions
Asked about these measures, a spokesman for Chinese diplomacy, Wang Wenbin, made no comment Thursday during a press conference, referring journalists to “the competent authorities”. These announcements come in a context of tension between Beijing and Taipei. The Chinese army organized three days of military exercises to put pressure on Taiwan, after a meeting between its president Tsai Ing-wen and the third figure of the American government, Kevin McCarthy, speaker of the House of Representatives.
Warships, fast missile launchers and fighter planes were notably mobilized for these operations which gave rise to simulations of targeted strikes and an encirclement of Taiwan. These military exercises ended on Monday. China views Taiwan as a province it has yet to reunite with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Beijing sees any official meeting with the island’s authorities as a provocation .