China extends military drills around Taiwan after Pelosi visit

China said on Monday it was extending threatening military exercises around Taiwan that have disrupted sea and air traffic and raised significant concerns about the potential for conflict in a region crucial to global trade.

The drills would include anti-submarine drills, apparently targeting US support for Taiwan in the event of a potential Chinese invasion, according to social media posts from the eastern leadership of China’s ruling Communist Party military wing, l People’s Liberation Army.

The military said the drills involving missile strikes, fighter jets and ship movements crossing the center line of the side-dividing Taiwan Strait were a response to the US House Speaker’s visit , Nancy Pelosi, on the self-governing island last week.

China ignored calls to ease tensions, and there was no immediate indication when it would end what amounts to a blockade.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday it detected a total of 66 aircraft and 14 warships carrying out the naval and air drills. The island responded by putting its military on high alert and deploying ships, planes and other means to monitor Chinese planes, ships and drones that « simulate attacks on the island of Taiwan and our ships. at sea ».

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s official Central News Agency reported that the Taiwanese military will conduct live-fire artillery drills in southern Pingtung County on Tuesday and Thursday in response to Chinese drills.

The drills will include snipers, combat vehicles and armored vehicles, as well as attack helicopters, the report said, citing an unnamed source.

China hits back at criticism

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has threatened to annex it by force if necessary. The two sides parted ways in 1949 after a civil war, but Beijing views visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as recognition of its sovereignty.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called on the international community to « support democratic Taiwan » and « stop any escalation of the regional security situation ». The Group of Seven industrialized nations also criticized China’s actions, prompting Beijing to cancel a meeting between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi.

A Taiwanese military vessel patrols near the east coast on Sunday. Taiwan has accused the Chinese military of simulating an attack on its main island over the weekend. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)

China has halted defense and climate talks with the United States and imposed sanctions on Pelosi in retaliation for his visit.

The Biden administration and Pelosi say the United States remains committed to the « one China » policy that extends formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing while allowing for strong informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.

The United States, however, has criticized Beijing’s actions in the Taiwan Strait, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre calling them « fundamentally irresponsible ».

“There is no need or reason for this escalation,” Jean-Pierre said.

Calls for de-escalation

In Washington, Taiwan’s de facto ambassador Bi-khim Hsiao said China had no reason to be « so furious » over Pelosi’s visit, which is part of a long tradition of visits by US legislators to Taiwan.

« Well, you know, we’ve been living under threat from China for decades, » Hsiao told CBS News on Sunday. « If you have a child who is being bullied at school, you don’t say you don’t go to school. You try to find a way to deal with the bully.

« The risks are posed by Beijing, » Hsiao said.

During a visit to Myanmar, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Washington « is seizing the opportunity to strengthen its military deployment in the region, which deserves high vigilance and a resolute boycott from all sides ».

« China’s firm stance » is aimed at « seriously safeguarding peace across the Taiwan Strait and regional stability, » Wang was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.

Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong called for an easing of tensions.

« Australia continues to call for restraint, Australia continues to call for de-escalation. And it’s not something Australia alone is calling for…the whole region is concerned about the current situation, the whole region calls for the restoration of stability, » Wong said. told reporters in Canberra.


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