June 24, 2024

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China expands military exercises, escalates threats against Taiwan

China expands military exercises, escalates threats against Taiwan


China has announced additional live-fire exercises in the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea, as Beijing has expressed anger over the visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to Taiwan with military exercises near the island.

The Chinese Defense Ministry has not announced the purpose of the expanded exercises, which come as the visit has strained US-China relations. The exercises are Beijing’s greatest show of force over Taiwan since the last cross-strait crisis from 1995 to 1996 — in what it calls a warning to “provocateurs” who challenge Beijing’s claims about Taiwan, an autonomous democracy of 23 million people.

On August 7, Democratic and Republican lawmakers criticized the recent Chinese military escalation in response to the recent visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) (Video: The Washington Post)

China’s Maritime Safety Administration on Saturday announced five no-go areas in the Yellow Sea where the exercises will take place from August 5 to 15, as well as four additional areas in the Bohai Sea where China’s unspecified month-long military operations will take place starting Monday. .

Although China is officially pursuing what it calls “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan – which has never been ruled by the Chinese Communist Party – it is also constantly threatens to take the island by force if the government in Taipei declared its formal independence.

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Diplomatic repercussions From Pelosi’s visit escalated sharply on Friday, when Beijing imposed sanctions on her and her immediate family, canceled military dialogues, suspended climate talks and other bilateral cooperation on issues including cross-border crime.

The White House last week summoned Chinese Ambassador Qin Gang on “irresponsible” military operations, including missile launches in the waters around Taiwan. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken described the exercises as an “extreme, disproportionate and escalating military response”.

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Bi-khim Hsiao, the de facto ambassador of Taiwan to the United States, He told CBS News China’s actions are unprecedented, not Pelosi’s visit. She said it appears Beijing has been preparing such a response for a long time.

“The Beijing government is currently trying to manufacture a crisis over a practice that has been going on for decades,” Hsiao said in the interview, which was broadcast on Sunday. It added that it was up to China if it “developed with international respect or international condemnation.”

Hsiao also dismissed the idea that Pelosi’s trip was a “provocation”.

“Well, I think the word ‘provocation’ only has one place and that applies to China now,” Hsiao said. “They are fomenting regional instability.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) vowed on August 5 that China would not succeed in isolating Taiwan, amid continuing military exercises in the Taiwan Strait. (Video: Reuters, Photo: AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko/Reuters)

But China has shown no sign of slowing the pace of military exercises. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said Sunday that it will continue joint air and naval exercises in areas around Taiwan as planned, focusing on long-range strikes against targets in the sky.

After a record number of Chinese warplanes flew close to Taiwan’s airspace on Friday, 14 planes crossed the middle line of the Taiwan Strait on Saturday with 14 Chinese warships operating nearby. Three years ago, crossing the unofficial border dividing the waterway was unheard of.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry described China’s Saturday morning exercises as “a simulation of an attack on the main island of Taiwan.”

Taiwan has also reported drones and unidentified objects flying over Kinmen and Matsu, the two islands under Taiwan rule and closest to the coast of China’s Fujian Province. The Kinmen Defense Command on Saturday fired warning flares at three drones that flew over its restricted waters.

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Meng Xiangqing, a professor at the National Defense University of the People’s Liberation Army, told China Central Television in an interview published on Sunday that the exercises aimed to “totally smash the so-called mid-line” and demonstrate China’s ability to prevent foreign interference in the conflict through blockade and control. On the Bashi Channel, an important waterway between the western Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.

Military analysts said the Chinese live-fire exercises that began on Thursday and were conducted on all sides of Taiwan simulated a potential blockade of the island, but the Taiwan government said disruption to shipping routes and flights is limited so far.

Pelosi ended a congressional delegation’s Asian tour on Friday with a pledge that China would not succeed in isolating Taiwan.

For decades, the Chinese Communist Party has strived for universality pressure campaign To diplomatically isolate Taiwan’s democratically elected government by seizing its diplomatic partners and vigorously oppose exchanges between Taipei and foreign officials.

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan heralds a new phase of China’s pressure campaign

China accuses the United States of hollowing out its “one China” policy – which neither challenges nor endorses Beijing’s claims on the island – with steps to bolster its informal relationship with Taiwan, including the first visit of a House speaker in 25 years. The White House insists the policy has not changed.

Despite the unprecedented military pressure, the Taiwanese people have remained largely calm in the face of growing Chinese threats. “We are calm and will not rush. We are rational and will not act on provocation,” President Tsai Ing-wen said Thursday.

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Annual workouts by the Taiwanese military conducted a week before Pelosi’s visit despite increasingly angry warnings from Beijing. As the exercises began, local media reported that tourists visiting Xiaoliuqiu, a small island off the southwest coast of Taiwan’s main island, flocked to the beach to see if they could catch a glimpse of the missiles falling in the nearby waters.

In a polarized Congress, Pelosi’s trip received rare bipartisan support. During interviews with half a dozen politicians broadcast on Sunday, they all said that Pelosi – like any member of Congress – has the right to visit Taiwan and that they oppose any use of force by China in retaliation.

Rep. Gregory W. Mix (DN.Y.), who was part of the congressional delegation that led Pelosi to Asia last week, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that strengthening economic, cultural, and security cooperation with Taiwan is more important in the Facing Chinese aggression.

We will stand by our friends, partners and allies. Obviously, Taiwan is one of those,” said Mix. “So the provocateur [country] Not us. It’s the Beijing government.”

Bi Lin Wu contributed to this report.