• China fired multiple ballistic missiles into waters near Taiwan on Thursday.
  • The last time China did this was in 1996, during what was known as the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis.
  • Beijing continues to pressure Taiwan in the days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island.

China's military launched multiple ballistic missiles into waters near Taiwan on Thursday as Beijing continues its aggressive show of force, the island's defense ministry said.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army Rocket Force launched "DF ballistic missiles," referring to China's Dongfeng missile series consisting of weapons of various ranges and capabilities, into waters northeast and southwest of Taiwan, the defense ministry said in a tweet.

It was not immediately clear how many missiles were fired, though media reports suggested 11 missiles were launched. Taipei said its armed forces monitored the activity and activated its defense systems in response.

A spokesperson for the PLA's Eastern Theater Command said in a statement that "all missiles accurately hit the targets," adding that "the rocket force's precision striking and area denial capabilities were verified in the drill."

Video shared to Twitter by Chinese state-affiliated media showed the launches of a series of missiles. 

The last time China fired missiles into the waters near Taiwan was in 1996, during what was referred to as the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis.  

Taiwan's foreign ministry said in a statement that it "strongly condemns the Chinese government for following the example of North Korea in willfully test-firing missiles into waters near other countries, and demands that China exercise self-restraint."

Tensions in the region continue to remain high days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited self-ruling Taiwan — becoming the highest ranking US lawmaker to do so in over two decades. 

In addition to missile launches, dozens of Chinese fighter jets have entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone in the last few days as Beijing conducts military drills this week.

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Monday that China could respond to Pelosi's visit in multiple ways, including firing missiles into the Taiwan Strait or around the island. 

"You might recall on Monday we said publicly that this is exactly what we would expect the Chinese to do in the wake of, or even during, Speaker Pelosi's trip," Kirby told Fox on Thursday morning. "So this is pretty much the playbook we expected."

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