Nfter the landing of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan, China’s defense ministry announced “a series of targeted military operations” to defend China’s “national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The Chinese armed forces had been “put on the highest combat readiness”, it said on Tuesday.
The Regional Command East announced on Wednesday night that missiles would be fired into the waters east of Taiwan, target practice in the Taiwan Strait and joint maneuvers by sea and air forces. The official Xinhua news agency issued a statement that the military would hold “important military maneuvers and training activities including target practice around the island of Taiwan.” Six sea areas around Taiwan would be closed to shipping. The maneuvers would last from Thursday to Sunday
Pelosi is the highest-ranking American visitor in 25 years. After landing, she tweeted, “America’s solidarity with the 23 million Taiwanese is more important than ever today as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.” Her visit does not conflict with America’s long-established policy on Taiwan.
Beijing: America will ‘pay a price’
The United States and China have blamed each other for heightened tensions in the region. According to a statement, Foreign Minister Wang Yi threatened that American politicians who “play with fire” would “not come to a good end”. His spokeswoman said America will “pay a price.” According to a report by the Chinese news agency, the Deputy Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic, Xie Feng, summoned the American Ambassador Nicholas Burns as a matter of urgency.
Russia sided with China. A Kremlin spokesman described Pelosi’s visit as “pure provocation”. US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said there was “no reason for Beijing” to use the visit as “an excuse to step up aggressive military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait.” Nevertheless, Washington now expects longer-term reactions from China, such as military maneuvers or economic measures, according to Kirby.
According to a report in the Financial Times newspaper, Pelosi plans to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen this Wednesday. The Chinese military increased its activities in the region. Among other things, several military aircraft flew to the informal center line in the Taiwan Strait, according to Taiwanese information. China announced “major military maneuvers and training activities, including target practice, in six sea areas around the island of Taiwan.” They would last from Thursday to Sunday.
The American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was staying south of Taiwan with three escort ships. A US military official said it was ready “to respond to any eventuality.” But these are “normal routine postings”.