After Pelosi’s Visit, China Holds Largest Military Exercise With Live Ammunition Near Taiwan | World

The Chinese military on Thursday carried out the biggest military exercises with live ammunition ever carried out around Taiwan, Chinese state television CCTV reported.

The Taiwan government confirmed the exercises, and said Beijing had launched 11 ballistic missiles near the island. Taipei also said that Chinese naval ships and military aircraft came to cross, for a few moments, the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the marking that separates the two countries.

The exercises are China’s response to US congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The trip, which lasted less than 24 hours between Tuesday (2) and Wednesday (3), infuriated Beijing, which considers the island part of its territory.

China exercises seen from island near Taiwan

China exercises seen from island near Taiwan

Chinese maneuvers affect 900 flights and ship routes in the region.

“From 12:00 today (Thursday) until 12:00 on the 7th, an important military exercise of the People’s Liberation Army will be held. During these real combat exercises, six main areas around the island were selected and, during this period, all ships and aircraft must not enter the relevant maritime areas and airspace,” CCTV reported.

Taiwan deployed missile systems to track Chinese air force activity and said Taiwanese naval vessels remained on standby to monitor activity in the region. Taipei still accuses China of conducting a blockade in the region.

Chinese military helicopters fly over Pingtan Island, one of the closest points to mainland China from Taiwan, in Fujian province (Photo: Héctor Retamal / AFP Photo)

The government also that several of its portals have been targeted by hackers.

“The Ministry of National Defense maintains that it will maintain the principle of preparing for war without seeking war, with the attitude of not escalating conflict or causing disputes,” the Taiwan government said in a statement.

Beijing, in turn, defended the military exercisesas well as other maneuvers in recent days around Taiwan, as “fair and necessary” and blamed the United States and its allies for the escalation.

5 Points to Understand the Tension Caused by Nancy Pelosi's Visit to Taiwan

5 Points to Understand the Tension Caused by Nancy Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan

“In the current fight over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the United States is the provocateur and China is the victim,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

The Russian government, which has been an ally of China on foreign policy issues, also spoke out on Thursday about the military exercises. The Kremlin said Beijing had sovereignty to carry out the tests, and claimed it was Nancy Pelosi who had sparked the tensions.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen thanked the Group of Seven (G7) nations for supporting regional peace and stability after the group called on China to resolve tensions in the Taiwan Strait peacefully. “Taiwan is committed to defending the status quo and our democracy. We will work with like-minded partners to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan angered Beijing, which has promised strong retaliation against the United States. So far, however, it has been the Asian island that has paid the highest price for the American guest and has already begun to suffer the consequences of the visit with a series of sanctions announced by China.

On Wednesday (3), Beijing suspended imports of items such as fruit and fish products from Taiwan, as well as halting exports of natural sand to the island. Chinese customs also canceled imports from 35 Taiwanese cookie and candy exporters.

Beijing also carried out an unofficial naval air blockade, in anticipation of Thursday’s exercises.

The reprisals so far have been seen more as symbolic than practical, a message from Beijing to the Taiwan government of what more may be to come. Experts estimate that the Chinese government’s pressure on the island would already increase, regardless of the visit of the US president of the Chamber.

Taiwan Deputies and Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House, on arrival in Taiwan, Aug. 2, 2022

On the visit, which lasted less than 24 hours, Pelosi met with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, paid a visit to the Taipei Human Rights Museum and visited Parliament.

Although Nancy Pelosi spoke on behalf of the United States, the visit of the president of the Chamber was not unanimous within the country. On July 21, US President Joe Biden – who is a member of and close to Pelosi – said the military felt the visit was “not a good idea”.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, then Congresswoman, on a surprise visit to Tiananmen Square in 1991. Pelosi has a long history of opposing the Chinese government. — Photo: Associated Press

Still, the House leader, who has Nancy Pelosi’s history of confrontation with China, insisted on the trip. Thirty years ago, Pelosi unexpectedly appeared in Tiananmen Square with posters honoring the Chinese government dissidents killed in the protest that marked the place in 1989.

This was the first time in 25 years that a senior official of the kind from the United States has visited the island of 24 million people, which China claims to be part of its territory. Therefore, Beijing said that Pelosi’s trip was a “severely wrong signal to separatist forces in favor of Taiwan independence”.

The local government claims to be the real Chinese government in exile. The United States, on the other hand, has a policy of “strategic ambiguity”: it does not recognize Taiwan as a state, but maintains increasingly close relations with the island.

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