Updated Aug 3, 2022 - World

China warns airlines to avoid airspace near Taiwan

F-16V jet fighters taxi on the runway at the Air Force base, as the Taiwanese military holds a drill  in Chiayi, Taiwan, on Jan 5, 2022.
An F-16V jet fighter on the runway at an air force base in Chiayi, Taiwan, earlier this year. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Chinese officials are warning airlines to avoid airspace near Taiwan as it responds to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting Taipei ahead of planned live military drills that Taiwanese officials say may amount to a blockade.

Driving the news: The alert describing six areas in the region as "danger zones" notifies airlines of flight restrictions due to the military exercises from Thursday at 12 noon until 12 noon Sunday Hong Kong time, per Bloomberg, as officials in Japan also expressed alarm at Beijing's plans.

  • China's government also moved to block imports of citrus fruits and frozen mackerel from Taiwan in retaliation for Pelosi's trip, AP reports.

What they're saying: At a press conference on Wednesday, Taiwan's Ministry of Defense accused Beijing of violating international law and Taipei's sovereignty, due to China's announced live-fire military exercises that will occur in six different areas around Taiwan — some overlapping with the self-governing island's territorial waters.

  • China's action "threatens international waterways and challenges international order," amounting to "a sea and air blockade," a Ministry spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday that the maritime areas Beijing announced for military exercises "overlaps with Japan’s exclusive economic zone," per Al Jazeera.

  • "Considering the live-fire training nature of this military activity, Japan has expressed concerns to the Chinese side," Matsuno added.

Go deeper: Pelosi's Taiwan visit has echoes of 1996 crisis

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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