China has already been accused by Taiwan of violating its territorial waters with the drills that began as soon as Pelosi touched down in Taipei the previous evening. The latest outlandish claim was made by Nancy Pelosi saying that China made a big fuss over Taiwan visit because I am a woman.
Update(1545ET): During Nancy Pelosi’s short visit to the self governing island of Taiwan, China’s government issued a warning for commercial airlines to steer clear of the region as it began live military exercises that effectively cut off the maritime areas surrounding the island, with drills taking place even as close as 12 nautical miles from the Taiwan coast (conventionally considered “terrotorial waters”). Additionally, Xinhua reported that China is conducting joint rocket, Navy, and Air Force exercises just off Taiwan. Furthermore, the Global Times reported in foreboding terms that the PLA is getting ready to launch rockets over Taiwan. Likewise, Axios summarized:
- According to Bloomberg, the alert, which identifies six areas in the region as “danger zones” informs airlines of flight restrictions because of military exercises that will take place from Thursday at noon to Sunday at noon Hong Kong time. Officials in Japan have also expressed concern over Beijing’s plans.
- In response to Pelosi’s visit, the Chinese government also took action to halt imports of citrus fruits and frozen mackerel from Taiwan, according to the AP.
The most recent PLA measures were effectively a “maritime and aerial blockade.” according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry. A total of “48 Chinese military aircraft, mostly fighter jets, have now buzzed Taiwan over the past two days,” according to Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson. Less than half of these, as per Taiwan’s defense ministry, breached the “median line” which, it should be noted, official Chinese publication Global Times said no longer exists.
Given that China is now conducting live-fire military drills surrounding Taiwan in six different locations, some of which intersect with Taiwan’s claimed territorial seas, Taiwan’s defense ministry charged Beijing with “violating international law and Taiwan’s sovereignty.” Given that the PLA Eastern Theater designated a Thursday as the “start” date, the drills’ major component has not even started yet.
It goes without saying that everything going on here is extremely risky, especially in light of the possibility of a “inadvertent” event involving either the PLA and Taiwanese forces or the US Navy, given that the USS Reagan strike group entered the region’s waters two days ago.
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Now since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is securely in Seoul, South Korea, neither President Yoon Suk-yeol nor even the nation’s foreign minister will cross paths with her as the former is conveniently on “vacation” whilst the latter is in nearby Cambodia. All she has so far provided as a “explanation” for rising geopolitical tensions, with Taiwan presently discovering itself located in the direct crosshairs of a nuclear-armed superpower, is that people are enraged that she ended up going to Taiwan because she’s a woman.
In fact, she stated the following on Wednesday morning as she stood next to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen: “They didn’t say anything when the men came.”
What else is there to say? While the Taiwanese people conduct emergency bunker drills in preparation for the likelihood of major Chinese military action, she is allowed to play the woke victim.
Less than a half-day after Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan aboard a US Air Force aircraft, a huge group of 27 Chinese PLA planes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on Wednesday. Critically, at least 22 of the aircraft were believed to have crossed the Taiwan Strait or “median line.”
The brief crossings of the PLA jets were depicted on a map released to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense. The ministry responded by claiming that it had sent out radio alerts and had prepared air defense missile systems to keep an eye on the operations. Taiwan previously stated that it will not think twice about using its military to counter “enemy threats.” Chinese aircraft and ships had already buzzed the median line, which demarcates what the self-governing island believes to be its own territorial seas, as Pelosi’s plane arrived yesterday from Malaysia.
“27 PLA aircraft (J-116, J-165 and SU-30*16) entered the surrounding area of R.O.C. on August 3, 2022,” Taiwan’s military wrote in official social media posts. Beijing now sees the median line as having ceased to exist, according to a statement made earlier in the day by the official English-language PRC outlet Global Times.
“The exercises are unprecedented as the PLA conventional missiles are expected to fly over the island of Taiwan for the first time, the PLA forces will enter area within 12 nautical miles of the island and that the so-called median line will cease to exist,” the publication wrote while detailing the next phase of PLA drills to surround the island.
Around-Taiwan PLA exercises (image source: Bloomberg Graphics):
Since then, the Taiwanese military has confirmed that its airspace and maritime borders have been breached “by force” as the PLA keeps up its threatening actions.
Review of recent events as reported by Chinese media outlet Global Times:
- The PLA drills around Taiwan island are unprecedented
- conventional missiles are expected to fly over the island for the 1st time
- PLA forces will enter area within 12 nautical miles to the island
- “median line” ceases to exist
In the most recent hours, Taiwan released its own video showing the military in a high state of readiness.
“Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remarked during a brief meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday morning after traveling into Taipei the night before on an Air Force flight. “America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad.”
She left on Wednesday during ongoing military exercises by the Chinese PLA that are encircling the self-governing island on numerous sides. Beijing has angrily denounced her visit, and the foreign ministry has warned that the US will “pay the price” for it.
Taiwan’s Tsai, for her part, stated at a meeting with Pelosi, “Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down, we will firmly uphold our nation’s sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defense for democracy.”
During a live telecast from the presidential palace, Tsai presented Pelosi with the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon, the highest civilian honor given by the democratic island.
The Taiwanese president described that it “represented their [Taiwan’s] gratitude to Pelosi and the wish to continue progressing US-Taiwan relations through more cooperation.” Pelosi later posted on Twitter that it was a “symbol of America’s strong and enduring friendship.”
China’s National Defense Ministry in its latest said, “Such an act equals to sealing off Taiwan by air and sea, such an act covers our country’s territory and territorial waters, and severely violates our country’s territorial sovereignty,” according to the words by Capt. Jian-chang Yu.
The portion of the PLA exercise scheduled on Thursday will involve “live fire” maneuvers within 22 kilometers (or 12 nautical miles) of Taiwan’s coast. The Hill notes it will be “the largest aimed at Taiwan since 1995, when China fired missiles in a large-scale exercise to show its displeasure at a visit by then-Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui to the U.S.”
China has already been accused by Taiwan of violating its territorial waters with the drills that began as soon as Pelosi touched down in Taipei the previous evening.
More of China’s wrath was visible throughout the day on Wednesday, as Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, hinted at additional consequences and punishment in advance of a scheduled media briefing.
“As for the specific countermeasures, what I can tell you is that they’ll include everything that should be included,”Hua said. “The measures in question will be firm, vigorous and effective, and the U.S. side and Taiwan independence forces will continue feeling them.”
The “median line” dividing the Taiwan Strait will no longer be recognized, according to a statement published in the government-run Global Times.
“Joint military exercises around the island of Taiwan by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continued Wednesday with a joint blockade, sea assault and land and air combat trainings, involving the use of advanced weapons including J-20 stealth fighter jets and DF-17 hypersonic missiles after the drills started on Tuesday evening, when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed on the island which seriously violates China’s sovereignty,” the provocative statement says.
“The exercises are unprecedented as the PLA conventional missiles are expected to fly over the island of Taiwan for the first time, the PLA forces will enter area within 12 nautical miles of the island and that the so-called median line will cease to exist, experts said, noting that by surrounding Taiwan entirely, the PLA are completely blockading the island demonstrating the Chinese mainland’s absolute control over the Taiwan question,” the publication adds.