In pictures: Scenes from both sides of the Taiwan Strait as China conducts unprecedented military exercises

SINGAPORE: China fired ballistic missiles and deployed fighter jets and warships on Thursday (Aug 4) as it began its largest military exercises around Taiwan, a show of force sparked by United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.

On Pingtan Island in China’s Fujian province – one of the mainland’s closest points to Taiwan – people looked on as helicopters flew overhead and smoke trails from projectiles appeared in the distance.

In Keelung on Taiwan’s northern coast, meanwhile, people waded and swam in the sea seemingly unperturbed by the drills taking place just over the horizon.

In Beijing, massive outdoor screens flashed images promoting the People’s Liberation Army while TV screens at a salon in Taipei showed coverage of the escalating cross-strait tensions.

Here are some of the scenes that played out on Thursday.