China conducts ‘precision missile strikes’ in Taiwan Strait

China conducted “precision missile strikes” Thursday in the Taiwan Strait and in the waters off the eastern coast of Taiwan as part of military exercises that have raised tensions in the region to their highest level in decades.

China earlier announced that military exercises by its navy, air force and other departments were underway in six zones surrounding Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary.

Five of the missiles fired by China landed inside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone off its coast, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said. He said Japan protested the missile landings to China as “serious threats to Japan’s national security and the safety of the Japanese people.”

The drills were prompted by a visit to the island by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week and are intended to advertise China’s threat to attack the self-governing island republic. Along with its moves to isolate Taiwan diplomatically, China has long threatened military retaliation over moves by the island to solidify its de facto independence with the support of key allies including the U.S.

China fired long-range explosive projectiles, the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army, the ruling Communist Party’s military wing, said in a statement. It also said it carried out multiple conventional missile launches in three different areas in the eastern waters off Taiwan. An accompanying graphic on state broadcaster CCTV showed those occurred in the north, east, and south.