On Saturday, China continued to express its dissatisfaction with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan, where for the third day in a row military exercises have been approaching the island and raising fears of potential conflict.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday that several groups of Chinese warplanes and warships were found around the Taiwan Strait, with some of them crossing the unofficial median line separating the island from the Chinese mainland. They appear to have been involved in an exercise simulating an attack on the main island of Taiwan, the ministry said.
The Chinese show of force, expected to last until Sunday, has already endangered the territory Taiwan claims as its own, more so than any previous exercise.
China fired at least 11 missiles into waters north, south and east of Taiwan, including at least one that flew over the island, although Taiwan said the missile was at high altitude and did not pose a threat. On Friday, he also sent fighter jets, bombers, destroyers, drones and escort ships into the waters near the island. Some of the zones the Chinese military has identified for this week’s exercise are closer to the island than the areas announced during the Taiwan Strait crisis in the mid-1990s, when China also fired missiles around Taiwan.
Since the exercise began on Thursday, at least 49 Chinese military aircraft have crossed the median line, Taiwanese officials said.
Understand the tension between China and Taiwan
What does China mean for Taiwan? China claims Taiwan, a self-governing island democracy of 23 million people, as its territory and has long vowed to take it back, by force if necessary. The island to which Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese troops retreated after the 1949 communist revolution was never part of the People’s Republic of China.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said in a statement Saturday that China “unilaterally created the crisis” by overreacting to Ms. Pelosi’s visit.
“The Taiwanese people have the right to be friends with the rest of the world, and China has no right to prevent the rest of the world from being friends with Taiwan,” the statement said.
The military exercise is the most visible element in China’s response to Ms. Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, which she said was meant to show support for the island and its vibrant democracy. Before her arrival on Tuesday, China repeatedly warned that a gesture by Ms. Pelosi – the most senior U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years – would have “serious consequences.” China claims Taiwan as its territory, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping has vowed to eventually reunite, by force if necessary.
China also said on Friday that it would cancel or suspend talks with the United States on military coordination and climate change, which some analysts say could increase the likelihood that a misunderstanding could escalate into a full-fledged crisis.
At the same time, the United States is seeking to strengthen its ties with other Asian countries as a counterweight to China’s regional and global influence. On Saturday, Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken met Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Manila. In a public exchange, Mr. Marcos told Mr. Blinken that he believes Ms. Pelosi’s visit has not “increased the intensity” of tensions in the region, which he said were already high – a clear refutation of the allegations China that the United States is responsible for the current friction.
Fears that China would try to physically block Ms. Pelosi’s visit did not materialize. But US officials remain concerned that the exercise, which began less than 24 hours after she left Taiwan, could escalate, intentionally or accidentally, into a more direct conflict.
Chinese officials who have encouraged swaggering and at times aggressive nationalism at home may be under pressure to show they are reacting strongly. Some Chinese social media users expressed disappointment or embarrassment that the government did not go further to prevent Ms. Pelosi’s visit; some made it clear that they expected military action.
Even if the exercises do not escalate directly into a full-blown crisis, they could signal a new pattern of aggression and incursions from the Chinese military. Global Times, state tabloid, said in an editorial on Friday that the work to promote reunification with Taiwan has “entered a new phase.”
The United States tried to avoid further Chinese provocations. He stated that he remains committed to the status quo in Taiwan, acknowledging China’s stated claim to the island but not recognizing it. The Pentagon ordered the USS Ronald Reagan to “stay put” in the region while maintaining some distance from the Taiwan Strait.
But China has made it clear that it views any criticism of its teachings as an insult. He called several ambassadors after his countries expressed concern about drills. After several Chinese missiles landed in waters Japan claims on Thursday, the Japanese prime minister called for an “immediate halt,” a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Japan said. said Japan will not “slide into the abyss” of geopolitical confrontation.
Amy Chan Chien, John Liu as well as Edward Wong made a report.