US Governor Visits Taiwan After China Drills

This handout picture taken and released by Taiwan’s Presidential Office on August 22, 2022 shows Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (R) speaking with Eric Holcomb (L), the Republican governor of the US state of Indiana, during a meeting at the Presidential Office in Taipei. (Photo by Handout / TAIWAN’S PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE / AFP)
This handout picture taken and released by Taiwan’s Presidential Office on August 22, 2022 shows Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen (R) speaking with Eric Holcomb (L), the Republican governor of the US state of Indiana, during a meeting at the Presidential Office in Taipei. (Photo by Handout / TAIWAN’S PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE / AFP)

 

A US state governor met Taiwan’s president Monday, days after Washington announced trade talks with Taipei in a show of support following China’s military threats towards the self-ruled island.

Eric Holcomb, the Republican governor of Indiana, landed in Taiwan on Sunday for an “economic development trip”.

US-China tensions have risen since Beijing staged huge military drills in retaliation for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this month.

Taiwan lives under constant threat of an invasion by China, which claims the democratic island as part of its territory to be seized one day — by force if necessary.

Beijing lashes out at any diplomatic action that might lend Taiwan legitimacy and has responded with growing fury to visits by Western officials and politicians.

In her meeting with Holcomb on Monday, President Tsai Ing-wen directly referenced Beijing’s drills and called for like-minded countries to continue supporting Taiwan.

“Presently we are facing the continued expansion of global authoritarianism,” she told Holcomb.

“Taiwan has been confronted by military threats from China in and around the Taiwan Strait. At this moment democratic allies must stand together and boost cooperation across all areas,” she said.

Holcomb said the United States and Taiwan “share so many common values and interests and goals”.

“We will continue to seek to build a strategic partnership with you,” he said.

Holcomb is also expected to meet representatives of Taiwan’s world-leading semiconductor industry before leaving on Wednesday for South Korea.

Alongside South Korea, Taiwan makes some of the world’s smallest and most advanced computer chips — a commodity that is vital for electronics but in short supply worldwide.

The United States is keen to encourage Taiwanese companies to build chip foundries on American soil to diversify supply chains, something Tsai also referenced on Monday.

“Taiwan is willing and able to strengthen cooperation with democratic partners in building sustainable supply chain for democracy chips,” she said.

Holcomb’s visit comes on the heels of the announcement of trade talks between Washington and Taipei in the coming months as a senior US diplomat warned Beijing would continue to put pressure on Taiwan.

China has lashed out at the plans for business talks with Washington — though it also has multiple trade deals of its own with Taiwan, signed during years when their relations were warmer.

AFP

China Conducts Fresh Drills Around Taiwan As US Lawmakers Visit

In this file photo, Chinese military helicopters fly past Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 4, 2022, ahead of massive military drills off Taiwan following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP)

 

China staged fresh military drills around Taiwan on Monday, slamming a new visit by United States lawmakers to the island days after a similar trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi triggered a furious response from Beijing.

The unannounced two-day trip by senior members of Congress prompted China to renew its rhetoric that it would “prepare for war” over Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy that Beijing’s leaders claim and have vowed to one day seize.

The five-member congressional delegation — led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts — met with President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday, according to Washington’s de facto embassy in Taipei.

“The delegation had an opportunity to exchange views with Taiwan counterparts on a wide range of issues of importance to both the United States and Taiwan,” it said.

Tsai told the lawmakers she wants “to maintain a stable status quo across the Taiwan Strait” and “jointly maintain the prosperity and stability of the Indo-Pacific region”, her office said in a statement.

READ ALSOExecuted Myanmar Prisoners Deserved ‘Many Death Sentences’- Junta

She said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrated “the threat that authoritarian states pose to the world order”, according to her office, and also thanked Washington for its support in the face of Chinese military threats.

The bipartisan trip sparked another bellicose response from Beijing, which said it had carried out a fresh round of “combat readiness patrol and combat drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan island” on Monday.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army continues to train and prepare for war, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely crush any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatism and foreign interference attempts,” Wu Qian, a spokesman for China’s defense ministry, said.

“We warn the US and the DPP authorities: ‘Using Taiwan to contain China’ is doomed to failure,” he added, referring to Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

In a defiant response, Taiwan’s defence ministry vowed to face the latest drills “calmly and seriously and defend national security”.

“Apart from expressing condemnation (of China’s drills), the Ministry of National Defence will comprehensively grasp the movements in the sea and airspace around the Taiwan Strait,” the ministry said.

It added that its forces had detected 30 Chinese planes and five ships operating around the strait on Monday. Of those, 15 planes crossed the median line — an unofficial demarcation that Beijing does not recognise.

Monday’s drills followed days of huge exercises around Taiwan in the wake of Pelosi’s visit, which saw Beijing send warships, missiles and jets into the waters and skies near the island.

Taipei condemned those drills and missile tests as preparation for an invasion.

China’s Communist Party has never ruled Taiwan but says it will use force if necessary to take the island and bristles at any perceived treatment of it as a sovereign nation state.

 ‘Evil Neighbour’ 

That decades-old threat was reiterated in a white paper published last week, when China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said it would “not renounce the use of force” against its neighbour and reserved “the option of taking all necessary measures”.

Taipei has remained defiant throughout the standoff with Beijing, with Premier Su Tseng-chang saying the island welcomed “all countries and friends across the world” who want to support it.

“We shouldn’t be too afraid to do anything, afraid to let visitors come and afraid to let our friends come, just because we have an evil neighbour next door,” he said.

Foreign minister Joseph Wu struck a similar tone after meeting the US delegation on Monday.

“Authoritarian China can’t dictate how democratic Taiwan makes friends, wins support, stays resilient and shines like a beacon of freedom,” Wu said in a tweet.

Pelosi has stood by her visit which, combined with Beijing’s response, sent tensions in the Taiwan Strait soaring to their highest in decades.

President Joe Biden said the US military was opposed to the trip by his fellow Democrat, who is second in line to the presidency after the vice president.

Congress is constitutionally an equal branch of government in the United States, with lawmakers free to travel where they wish, and Taiwan enjoys bipartisan backing in divided Washington.

The United States switched diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. But it remains a key ally of Taiwan and maintains de facto diplomatic relations with Taipei.

Washington’s official policy opposes both Taiwan declaring independence and China forcibly changing the island’s status.

It remains deliberately ambiguous about whether it would come to Taiwan’s aid militarily if China invaded.

Visits by senior US officials to Taiwan have happened for decades and even Pelosi’s trip was not without precedent — then-speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich visited in 1997.

But the frequency and profile of US visits has increased both under former president Donald Trump and Biden.

Taiwan has also seen a flurry of delegations visit from Europe and other Western allies in recent years, partly in response to Beijing’s more aggressive stance under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

AFP

China Conducts Fresh Drills Around Taiwan As US Lawmakers Visit

Chinese military helicopters fly past Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest points to Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 4, 2022. AFP

 

China said Monday it had organised fresh military drills around Taiwan, as a delegation of visiting United States lawmakers met the island’s leader after a similar trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi heightened fears of conflict.

The unannounced two-day trip came after Beijing sent warships, missiles and jets into the waters and skies around Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy that China’s leaders claim and have vowed to one day seize.

The five-member congressional delegation — led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts — met with President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday, according to Washington’s de facto embassy.

“The delegation had an opportunity to exchange views with Taiwan counterparts on a wide range of issues of importance to both the United States and Taiwan,” it said.

The bipartisan trip sparked a caustic response from Beijing, which said it had carried out “combat readiness patrol and combat drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan island” on Monday.

“This is a solemn deterrent against the US and Taiwan for continuing to play political tricks and undermining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Shi Yi, spokesman for the Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement, promising to “resolutely defend national sovereignty”.

Taiwan’s government has accused Beijing of using Pelosi’s visit as an excuse to kickstart drills that would allow it to rehearse for an invasion.

China’s Communist Party has never ruled Taiwan but says it will use force if necessary to take the island and bristles at any perceived treatment of it as a sovereign nation-state.

In response to the delegation’s visit, Beijing called on Washington to “stop going further down the wrong path of hollowing out and distorting the one-China principle, so as not to cause further damage to China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.

“China will take firm and forceful measures to safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular briefing.

 ‘Red lines’

That decades-old threat was reiterated in a white paper published last week when China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said it would “not renounce the use of force” against its neighbour and reserved “the option of taking all necessary measures”.

It added, however: “We will only be forced to take drastic measures to respond to the provocation of separatist elements or external forces should they ever cross our red lines.”

Taipei has remained defiant throughout the standoff with Beijing, with foreign minister Joseph Wu saying after a meeting with the delegation that their visit showed the island had not been cowed by China’s threats.

“Authoritarian China can’t dictate how democratic Taiwan makes friends, wins support, stays resilient and shines like a beacon of freedom,” Wu said in a tweet.

“Their visit once again demonstrates that China cannot dictate nor instruct other countries’ politicians not to visit Taiwan,” Lo Chih-cheng, a lawmaker with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), told AFP.

Pelosi has stood by her visit but President Joe Biden said the US military was opposed to the trip by his fellow Democrat, who is second in line to the presidency after the vice president.

Congress is constitutionally an equal branch of government in the United States, with lawmakers free to travel where they wish, and Taiwan enjoys bipartisan backing in divided Washington.

The United States switched diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. But it remains a key ally of Taiwan and maintains de facto diplomatic relations with Taipei.

Washington’s official policy opposes both Taiwan declaring independence and China forcibly changing the island’s status.

It remains deliberately ambiguous about whether it would come to Taiwan’s aid militarily if China invaded.

Visits by senior US officials to Taiwan have happened for decades and even Pelosi’s trip was not without precedent — then-speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich visited in 1997.

But the frequency and profile of US visits have increased both under former president Donald Trump and Biden.

Taiwan has also seen a flurry of delegations visit from Europe and other Western allies in recent years, partly in response to Beijing’s more aggressive stance under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

AFP

Taiwan Holds Military Drill After China Repeats Threats

his screen grab from a video by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command on August 4, 2022 made available on the Eurovision Social Newswire (ESN) platform via AFPTV shows a missile being fired during a Chinese military exercise in China on August 4, 2022. (Photo by various sources / AFP)

 

Taiwan’s army held another live-fire drill Thursday after Beijing ended its largest-ever military exercises around the island and repeated threats to bring the self-ruled democracy under its control.

Beijing has raged at a trip to Taiwan last week by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — the highest-ranking elected American official to visit in decades — staging days of air and sea drills that raised tensions to their highest level in years.

Taiwan has accused China of using the Pelosi visit as an excuse to kickstart drills that would allow it to rehearse for an invasion.

Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for Taiwan’s Eighth Army Corps, told AFP its forces fired howitzers and target flares as part of the defensive drill on Thursday.

READ ALSO: China Holds Fresh Military Drills Around Taiwan

The exercise in Taiwan’s southernmost county Pingtung began at 08:30 am (0030 GMT) and lasted about an hour, he said.

Artillery tucked in from the coast was lined up side by side, with armed soldiers in units firing the howitzers out to sea one after the other, a live stream showed.

Taiwan held a similar drill on Tuesday in Pingtung. Both involved hundreds of troops, the military said.

The military has played down the exercises’ significance, saying they were already scheduled and were not in response to China’s war games.

“We have two goals for the drills, the first is to certify the proper condition of the artillery and their maintenance condition and the second is to confirm the results of last year,” Lou said, referring to annual drills.

Taiwan routinely stages military drills simulating defence against a Chinese invasion.

On Thursday, Taipei’s army said it detected 21 Chinese planes and six ships operating in the Taiwan Strait, without specifying if they were conducting operations.

Of those, 11 planes crossed the median line, an unofficial demarcation between China and Taiwan that Beijing does not recognise.

‘Prepare For War’ 

Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen thanked troops in a visit to an air force command headquarters on Thursday.

“Right now, China’s military threat has not lessened,” she said in a statement posted on her Facebook page.

“I will reiterate, we will not escalate the conflict or cause disputes, we will firmly defend our sovereignty and national security, and defend the front line of democracy and freedom.”

Taiwan’s latest exercise came after China’s military indicated its own drills had come to an end Wednesday, saying its forces “successfully completed various tasks” in the Taiwan Strait while vowing to continue patrolling its waters.

But in the same announcement, China said that it would “continue to carry out military training and prepare for war”.

In a white paper published the same day, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Beijing would “not renounce the use of force” against its neighbour and reserved “the option of taking all necessary measures”.

“We are ready to create vast space for peaceful reunification, but we will leave no room for separatist activities in any form,” it said in the paper.

China last issued a white paper on Taiwan in 2000.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, the island’s top policymaking body on China, rejected the paper and said the document was “full of lies that are ‘wishful thinking and disregarding the facts'”.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry on Thursday joined the council in rebuffing the “one country, two systems” model that Beijing has proposed for the island.

“China’s whole statement absolutely goes against the cross-strait status quo and its reality,” ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou told a press conference.

“China is using US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit as an excuse to destroy the status quo and taking the opportunity to make trouble, attempting to create a new normal to intimidate the Taiwanese people.”

The Chinese Communist Party’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement Thursday that Taipei’s “rebellious actions are just a slap in the face and cannot stop the historical trend of reunification” with mainland China.

Pelosi has stood by her visit, saying Wednesday she was “very proud” of her delegation and believed China had used her visit as a “pretext” to launch its military exercises.

“We will not allow China to isolate Taiwan,” Pelosi told reporters in Washington.

In response to the Chinese military revealing it was bringing drills to an end, Taiwan’s army said it would “adjust how we deploy our forces… without letting our guard down”.

AFP

China Holds Fresh Military Drills Around Taiwan

A screen grab from a video by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command on August 4, 2022 made available on the Eurovision Social Newswire (ESN) platform via AFPTV shows a missile being fired during a Chinese military exercise in China on August 4, 2022. AFP

 

China carried out fresh military drills around Taiwan Monday, Beijing said, defying calls for it to end its largest-ever exercises encircling the democratic island in the wake of a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Beijing has raged at the trip by Pelosi — the highest-ranking elected US official to visit Taiwan in decades — ripping up a series of talks and cooperation agreements with Washington, most notably on climate change and defence.

It has also deployed fighter jets, warships and ballistic missiles in what analysts have described as practice for a blockade and ultimate invasion of the self-ruled island that China claims as its territory.

Those drills were expected to draw to a close on Sunday, but neither Beijing nor Taipei confirmed their conclusion, though Taiwan’s transport ministry said it had seen some evidence suggesting at least a partial drawdown.

China then said Monday they were ongoing, reporting “the eastern theatre of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army continued to carry out practical joint exercises and training in the sea and airspace around Taiwan island.”

The exercises, the Chinese military’s Eastern Command said, were “focusing on organising joint anti-submarine and sea assault operations”.

Beijing is also set to carry out live-fire drills on Monday in parts of the South China Sea and the Yellow Sea.

 Taipei defiant

Taiwan has remained defiant throughout days of drills by Beijing and will hold anti-landing exercises in its southernmost county of Pingtung on Tuesday and Thursday, Taipei’s army said.

“We will practice counter moves against simulated enemy attacks on Taiwan,” Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for the Eighth Army Corps, told AFP.

They will include the deployment of hundreds of troops and about 40 howitzer guns, it said.

Su Tseng-chang, Taiwan’s premier, has accused China was “barbarously using military action” to disturb peace in the Taiwan Strait.

“We call on the Chinese government not to go around wielding its military power, showing its muscles everywhere and jeopardising the peace of the region,” he told reporters Sunday.

To show how close it has got to Taiwan’s shores, the Chinese military released a video of an air force pilot filming the island’s coastline and mountains from his cockpit.

The Eastern Command also shared a photo it said was of a warship on patrol with Taiwan’s shoreline visible in the background.

Ballistic missiles were also fired over Taiwan’s capital during the exercises last week, according to Chinese state media.

The scale and intensity of China’s drills — as well as Beijing’s withdrawal from key talks on climate and defence — have triggered outrage in the United States and other democracies.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said Washington is “determined to act responsibly” to avoid a major global crisis.

And experts say the drills have revealed an increasingly emboldened Chinese military capable of carrying out a gruelling blockade of the island as well as obstructing US forces from coming to its aid.

“In some areas, the PLA might even surpass US capabilities,” Grant Newsham, a researcher at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies and a former US Navy officer, told AFP, referring to China’s military by its official name.

“If the battle is confined to the area right around Taiwan, today’s Chinese navy is a dangerous opponent — and if the Americans and Japanese do not intervene for some reason, things would be difficult for Taiwan.”

AFP

China’s Largest-Ever Taiwan Military Drills Draw To A Close

Chinese military helicopters fly past Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 4, 2022.  Hector RETAMAL / AFP)

 

China’s largest-ever military exercises surrounding Taiwan were drawing to a close on Sunday following a controversial visit last week to the self-ruled island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Beijing has raged at the trip by Pelosi — the second in the line of succession to the US presidency — ripping up a series of talks and cooperation agreements with Washington, most notably on climate change and defence.

It has also deployed fighter jets, warships and ballistic missiles around Taiwan in what analysts have described as practice for a blockade and ultimate invasion of the island.

READ ALSO: ‘Evil Neighbour’: Taiwan Condemns China Over War Drills

Those exercises were set to end Sunday, though Beijing has announced fresh drills in the Yellow Sea — located between China and the Korean peninsula — to take place until August 15.

Taiwan’s transport ministry said six of the seven “temporary danger zones” China warned airlines to avoid ceased to be in effect as of noon on Sunday, signalling a drawdown of the drills.

It said the seventh zone, in waters east of Taiwan, would remain in effect until 10:00 am (0200 GMT) local time on Monday.

“Relevant flights and sailings can gradually resume,” the ministry said in a statement.

Taipei said some routes were still being affected in the seventh area, and authorities would continue to monitor ship movements there.

Earlier on Sunday, Beijing conducted “practical joint exercises in the sea and airspace surrounding Taiwan Island as planned”, the Chinese military’s Eastern Command said.

The drills were focused “on testing the joint firepower on the ground and long-range air strike capabilities”, it added.

Taipei’s defence ministry also confirmed that China had dispatched “planes, vessels and drones” around the Taiwan Strait, “simulating attacks on Taiwan’s main island and on ships in our waters”.

Beijing also sent drones over Taiwan’s outlying islands, it added.

In response, the democratic island said it mobilised a “joint intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance system to closely monitor the enemy situation” as well as sending planes and vessels.

Su Tseng-chang, Taiwan’s premier, said China is “barbarously using military action” to disturb peace in the Taiwan Strait.

“We call on the Chinese government not to go around wielding its military power, showing its muscles everywhere and jeopardising the peace of the region,” he told reporters Sunday.

China’s defence ministry did not respond to a request for comment about the expected conclusion of the drills on Sunday.

 ‘A dangerous opponent’

To show how close China’s forces have been getting to Taiwan’s shores, Beijing’s military released a video of an air force pilot filming the island’s coastline and mountains from his cockpit.

And the Eastern Command of the Chinese army shared a photo it said was taken of a warship patrolling seas near Taiwan with the island’s shoreline visible in the background.

The drills have also seen Beijing fire ballistic missiles over Taiwan’s capital, according to Chinese state media.

Taipei has remained defiant throughout China’s sabre-rattling, insisting it will not be cowed by its “evil neighbour”.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry urged Beijing on Saturday to “immediately stop raising tensions and taking provocative actions to intimidate the Taiwanese people”.

But experts have warned the drills to reveal an increasingly emboldened Chinese military capable of carrying out a gruelling blockade of the self-ruled island as well as obstructing US forces from coming to its aid.

“In some areas, the PLA might even surpass US capabilities,” Grant Newsham, a researcher at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies and former US Navy officer, told AFP, referring to China’s military by its official name.

“If the battle is confined to the area right around Taiwan, today’s Chinese navy is a dangerous opponent — and if the Americans and Japanese do not intervene for some reason, things would be difficult for Taiwan.”

 ‘Punishing the world’

The scale and intensity of China’s drills — as well as Beijing’s withdrawal from key talks on climate and defence — have triggered outrage in the United States and other democracies.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meeting with his Philippine counterpart on Saturday, said Washington was “determined to act responsibly” to avoid a major global crisis.

China should not hold talks on issues of global concern such as climate change “hostage”, Blinken said, as it “doesn’t punish the United States, it punishes the world”.

The United Nations has also urged the two superpowers to continue to work together.

“For the secretary-general, there is no way to solve the most pressing problems of all the world without an effective dialogue and cooperation between the two countries,” his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

China Scraps Cooperation With US Over Taiwan Spat

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (2nd R), joined by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (R), speaks while facing Yang Jiechi (2nd L), director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office, and Wang Yi (L), China's Foreign Minister at the opening session of US-China talks at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska on March 18, 2021. Frederic J. BROWN / POOL / AFP
File photo: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (2nd R), joined by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (R), speaks while facing Yang Jiechi (2nd L), director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office, and Wang Yi (L), China’s Foreign Minister at the opening session of US-China talks at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska on March 18, 2021. Frederic J. BROWN / POOL / AFP

 

China said Friday it was ending cooperation with the United States on a litany of key issues including climate change, anti-drug efforts and military talks, as relations between the two superpowers nosedive over Taiwan.

Beijing has reacted furiously to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, which it claims as its territory and has vowed to retake — by force if necessary.

It has since Thursday encircled the self-ruled, democratic island with a series of huge military drills that have been roundly condemned by the United States and other Western allies.

And Friday saw its foreign ministry hit back further against the United States, suspending talks and cooperation on multiple agreements between the two — including on climate change.

The world’s two largest polluters last year pledged to work together to accelerate climate action this decade, and vowed to meet regularly to “address the climate crisis”.

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But that deal looks shaky as relations sink to some of their lowest levels in years, as do agreements on everything from talks on military matters to anti-drug cooperation.

Pelosi — who Beijing also hit with sanctions for the visit — has defended her trip to Taiwan, saying Friday that Washington would “not allow” China to isolate the island.

In Washington, the White House summoned China’s ambassador to Washington to condemn Beijing’s “irresponsible” behaviour over Taiwan, a senior US official said Friday.

Taiwan has also condemned Beijing’s response to the visit, with premier Su Tseng-chang calling for allies to push for de-escalation.

“(We) didn’t expect that the evil neighbour next door would show off its power at our door and arbitrarily jeopardise the busiest waterways in the world with its military exercises,” he told reporters.

‘Our Motherland Is Powerful’ 

Beijing has said its military exercises will continue until midday Sunday, and Taipei reported that 68 Chinese planes and 13 warships crossed the “median line” that runs down the Taiwan Strait on Friday.

AFP journalists on the Chinese island of Pingtan saw a fighter jet flying overhead, prompting tourists to snap photos as it flew along the coast.

A Chinese military vessel sailing through the Taiwan Strait was also visible, they added.

China’s drills involved a “conventional missile firepower assault” in waters to the east of Taiwan, the Chinese military said.

And state broadcaster CCTV reported that Chinese missiles had flown directly over Taiwan — a major escalation if officially confirmed.

On the Chinese island of Pingtan, local tourists proudly extolled their country’s military might against its much smaller neighbour.

“Our motherland is powerful. We are not afraid of having war with Taiwan, the US or any country in the world,” Liu, a 40-year-old tourist from Zhejiang province, told AFP.

“We hope to unify Taiwan soon. We are not scared of anyone,” he added.

“We don’t want to start a war, but we are not afraid of others.”

Wang, a businesswoman, was more sanguine about prospects for cross-strait ties.

“I hope China can unify Taiwan, but I don’t want war,” she said. “I hope this issue can be solved in a peaceful way.”

‘Significant Escalation’ 

The scale and intensity of China’s drills have triggered outrage in the United States and other democracies.

“These provocative actions are a significant escalation,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after talks with Southeast Asian foreign ministers at an ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh.

“The fact is, the speaker’s visit was peaceful. There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalatory military response,” he added.

China’s foreign minister countered with a warning for the United States, urging Washington not to escalate tensions.

“America’s habit is to create a problem and then use this problem to achieve its goals. But this approach will not work with China,” Wang Yi said at a press conference on the sidelines of the same summit.

“We want to issue a warning to the US not to act rashly and not to create a bigger crisis.”

Japan has lodged a formal diplomatic complaint against Beijing, with five of China’s missiles believed to have landed in its exclusive economic zone.

On Friday, Japan’s foreign ministry said China “cancelled” a planned bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit.

And Australia — which has a troubled relationship with China, its largest trading partner — condemned the drills as “disproportionate and destabilising”.

The manoeuvres are taking place along some of the world’s busiest shipping routes, used to disseminate the global supply of vital semiconductors and electronic equipment produced in East Asia.

AFP

‘Evil Neighbour’: Taiwan Condemns China Over War Drills

his screen grab from a video by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command on August 4, 2022 made available on the Eurovision Social Newswire (ESN) platform via AFPTV shows a missile being fired during a Chinese military exercise in China on August 4, 2022. (Photo by various sources / AFP) 

 

Taiwan blasted its “evil neighbour next door” on Friday after China encircled the island with a series of huge military drills that were condemned by the United States and other Western allies.

During Thursday’s military exercises, which continued Friday, China fired ballistic missiles and deployed both fighter jets and warships around Taiwan.

The People’s Liberation Army declared multiple no-go danger zones around Taiwan, straddling some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and at some points coming within 20 kilometres (12 miles) of the island’s shores.

Beijing has said the exercises will continue until midday Sunday, and Taipei reported that Chinese fighter jets and ships crossed the “median line” that runs down the Taiwan Strait on Friday morning.

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“As of 11am, multiple batches of Chinese warplanes and warships conducted exercises around the Taiwan Strait and crossed the median line of the strait,” Taipei’s defence ministry said in a statement.

The median line is an unofficial but once largely adhered-to border that runs down the middle of the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and China.

Chinese incursions have become more common since Beijing declared in 2020 that the unofficial border no longer existed.

AFP journalists on the picturesque Chinese island of Pingtan saw a fighter jet flying overhead, prompting tourists to snap photos as it flew along the coast.

A Chinese military vessel was also visible sailing through the Taiwan Strait, they added.

Beijing has insisted its war games are a “necessary” response to a visit to the self-ruled, democratic island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but Washington countered that China’s leaders had “chosen to overreact”.

Pelosi defended her visit Friday, saying Washington would “not allow” China to isolate Taiwan.

“We have said from the start that our representation here is not about changing the status quo here in Asia, changing the status quo in Taiwan,” she told reporters in Tokyo on the final leg of an Asia tour.

Taiwan’s premier Su Tseng-chang, meanwhile, called for allies to push for de-escalation.

“(We) didn’t expect that the evil neighbour next door would show off its power at our door and arbitrarily jeopardise the busiest waterways in the world with its military exercises,” he told reporters.

Missiles Over Taiwan 

Tourists look on as a Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 4, 2022, ahead of massive military drills off Taiwan following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island.  (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP)

 

China’s drills involved a “conventional missile firepower assault” in waters to the east of Taiwan, the Chinese military said.

The state-run Xinhua news agency said the Chinese military “flew more than 100 warplanes including fighters and bombers” during the exercises, as well as “over 10 destroyers and frigates”.

State broadcaster CCTV reported that Chinese missiles had flown directly over Taiwan.

Japan also claimed that of the nine missiles it had detected, four were “believed to have flown over Taiwan’s main island”.

Taipei’s military said it would not confirm missile flight paths, in a bid to protect its intelligence capabilities and not allow China “to intimidate us”.

‘Temperature’s Pretty High’ 

China’s ruling Communist Party views Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day take it, by force if necessary.

But the scale and intensity of the drills have triggered outrage in the United States and other democracies.

“China has chosen to overreact and use the speaker’s visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait,” John Kirby, a White House spokesman, told reporters.

“The temperature’s pretty high”, but tensions “can come down very easily by just having the Chinese stop these very aggressive military drills”, he added.

Japan lodged a formal diplomatic complaint against Beijing, with five of China’s missiles believed to have landed in its exclusive economic zone.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called China’s exercises a “serious problem that impacts our national security and the safety of our citizens” and called for an “immediate cancellation of the military drills”.

But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the “flagrant provocation” by the United States had set an “egregious precedent”.

Trading Places 

The manoeuvres are taking place along some of the busiest shipping routes on the planet, used to supply vital semiconductors and electronic equipment produced in East Asian factory hubs to global markets.

Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau has warned ships to avoid the areas being used for the Chinese drills.

“The shutting down of these transport routes — even temporarily — has consequences not only for Taiwan, but also trade flows tied to Japan and South Korea,” Nick Marro, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s lead analyst for global trade, wrote in a note.

Taiwan said the drills would disrupt 18 international routes passing through its flight information region while several international airlines told AFP they would divert flights.

But markets in Taipei appeared to shrug off the tensions, with the Taiwan Taiex Shipping and Transportation Index, which tracks major shipping and airline stocks, up 2.3 percent early Friday.

And analysts broadly agree that despite all its aggressive posturing, Beijing does not want an active military conflict against the United States and its allies over Taiwan — just yet.

“The last thing Xi wants is an accidental war ignited,” Titus Chen, an associate professor of political science at the National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan, told AFP.

AFP

China Sanctions Pelosi Over Taiwan Visit

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) being welcomed by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) after landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2, 2022. Taiwanese Foreign Ministry / Handout / Anadolu Agency
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) being welcomed by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) after landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2, 2022. Taiwanese Foreign Ministry / Handout / Anadolu Agency

 

China’s foreign ministry announced sanctions against US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday after her visit to Taiwan this week, prompting fury and shows of military force from Beijing.

The ministry said Pelosi was “seriously interfering in China’s internal affairs and seriously undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” with the visit, and that Beijing would “impose sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family”, without giving further details.

China has announced sanctions on a number of US officials in recent years for acting against what it views as its core interests and speaking out on human rights issues in Hong Kong and the northwestern region of Xinjiang, often without specifying punitive measures.

READ ALSO27 Chinese Warplanes Enter Taiwan’s Air Defence Zone: Taipei

In March this year, Beijing said it was imposing visa restrictions on an undisclosed list of United States officials who had allegedly “concocted lies on human rights issues involving China”.

Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, as well as Peter Navarro — a trade adviser to former president Donald Trump — were among those hit by earlier waves of sanctions and are forbidden from entering China as well as doing business with Chinese entities.

Beijing’s ruling Communist Party views self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day take it, by force if necessary.

The Chinese government has reacted with bombastic threats and military drills in the lead-up to and aftermath of Pelosi’s visit, which it sees as an unacceptable escalation of ties between Washington and Taiwan’s current pro-independence leaders.

AFP

China Fires Missiles Around Taiwan In Major Military Drills

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) being welcomed by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) after landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2, 2022. Taiwanese Foreign Ministry / Handout / Anadolu Agency
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) being welcomed by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) after landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2, 2022. Taiwanese Foreign Ministry / Handout / Anadolu Agency

 

China fired ballistic missiles and deployed fighter jets and warships on Thursday as it held its largest-ever military exercises around Taiwan, a show of force sparked by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.

Pelosi was the highest-profile US official to visit Taiwan in years, defying a series of stark threats from Beijing, which views the self-ruled island as its territory.

In retaliation, China launched a series of exercises in multiple zones around Taiwan, straddling some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and at some points just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the island’s shore.

The drills began around 12 noon local time (0400 GMT), and involved a “conventional missile firepower assault” in waters to the east of Taiwan, the Chinese military said.

Taiwan said the Chinese military fired 11 Dongfeng-class ballistic missiles “in several batches” and condemned the exercises as “irrational actions that undermine regional peace”.

Taipei did not say where the missiles landed or whether they flew over the island.

But Japan, a key US ally, said that of the nine missiles it had detected, four were “believed to have flown over Taiwan’s main island”.

READ ALSO27 Chinese Warplanes Enter Taiwan’s Air Defence Zone: Taipei

Tokyo has lodged a diplomatic protest with Beijing over the exercises, with Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi saying five of the missiles were believed to have landed in his country’s exclusive economic zone.

Taipei’s defence ministry said it had detected 22 Chinese fighter jets briefly crossing the Taiwan Strait’s “median line” during Thursday’s exercises.

AFP journalists on the border island of Pingtan saw several small projectiles flying into the sky followed by plumes of white smoke and loud booming sounds.

On the mainland, at what is said to be China’s closest point to Taiwan, AFP saw a batch of five military helicopters flying at a relatively low altitude near a popular tourist spot.

Beijing has said the drills will last until midday on Sunday.

‘Unprecedentedly Close Range’ 

Tourists look on as a Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 4, 2022, ahead of massive military drills off Taiwan following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP)

 

Beijing has defended the drills as “necessary and just”, pinning the blame for the escalation on the United States and its allies.

“In the face of this blatant provocation, we have to take legitimate and necessary countermeasures to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing Thursday.

Military analysts told Beijing’s state broadcaster CCTV that the goal was to practice a possible blockade of the island and contain its pro-independence forces.

“The purpose is to show that the PLA is capable of controlling all the exits of the Taiwan Island, which will be a great deterrent to ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionist forces,” Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at China’s Naval Research Institute, said.

“The operations are conducted in an unprecedentedly close range to the Taiwan Island,” Meng Xiangqing, a military expert, stressed.

“The operations will leave a deterrence effect that is stronger than ever before.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington had contacted Beijing “at every level of government” in recent days to call for calm and stability.

“I hope very much that Beijing will not manufacture a crisis or seek a pretext to increase its aggressive military activity,” Blinken told ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Phnom Penh.

Speaking at the same meeting, Japan’s foreign minister called for an ‘immediate stop’ to China’s military drills near Taiwan.

“China’s actions this time have a serious impact on the peace and stability of the region and the international community,” Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters.

The manoeuvres are taking place along some of the busiest shipping routes on the planet, used to supply vital semiconductors and electronic equipment produced in East Asian factory hubs to global markets.

Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau has issued warnings to ships to avoid the areas being used for the Chinese drills.

The Taiwanese cabinet said the drills would disrupt 18 international routes passing through its flight information region (FIR).

 ‘A Clear Escalation’

 

Taiwan’s 23 million people have long lived with the possibility of an invasion, but that threat has intensified under President Xi Jinping, China’s most assertive ruler in a generation.

Analysts said the Chinese leadership is keen to project strength ahead of a crucial ruling party meeting this autumn at which Xi is expected to be given an unprecedented third term.

“China’s announced military exercises represent a clear escalation from the existing baseline of Chinese military activities around Taiwan and from the last Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995-1996,” said Amanda Hsiao, senior analyst for China at the International Crisis Group.

“Beijing is signalling that it rejects Taiwan’s sovereignty.”

Nevertheless, analysts have told AFP that China is not aiming to escalate the situation beyond its control — at least for now.

Titus Chen, an associate professor of political science at the National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan, said: “The last thing Xi wants is an accidental war.”

AFP

US Warns China Over Military Drills After Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit 

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) being welcomed by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) after landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2, 2022.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (C) being welcomed by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L) after landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on August 2, 2022. Taiwanese Foreign Ministry / Handout / Anadolu Agency

 

A top US official on Wednesday called China’s military drills in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan irresponsible and warned of the danger of the situation spiraling out of control.

“We believe that what China is doing here is not responsible,” said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in an interview with National Public Radio.

Beijing on Wednesday geared up for military exercises encircling Taiwan in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit to the democratic self-ruling island that China considers part of its territory.

“Whenever a military engages in a series of activities that include the possibility of missile tests, of live fire exercises, of fighter jets buzzing around the skies and ships moving around on the seas, the possibility of some kind of incident is real,” Sullivan said.

He urged Beijing to de-escalate tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

READ ALSO27 Chinese Warplanes Enter Taiwan’s Air Defence Zone: Taipei

“What we are hopeful for is that the PRC acts responsibly and avoids the kind of escalation that could lead to a mistake or miscalculation in the air or on the seas,” Sullivan said, using China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.

Pelosi, the second in line to the US presidency, departed Taiwan Wednesday morning, having defied a series of increasingly stark threats from Beijing, which considers her visit a major provocation.

China reacted with fury, announcing what it said were “necessary and just” military drills in the seas just off Taiwan’s coast — some of the world’s busiest waterways.

After Pelosi’s departure, Taiwan’s defense ministry announced late Wednesday that 27 Chinese warplanes had entered the island’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).

Over the last two years, Beijing has ramped up military incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ — which is not the same as the island’s territorial airspace, but includes a far greater area — but that is still a relatively rare occurrence.

AFP

China Begins Major Taiwan Military Drills After Pelosi Visit

Tourists look on as a Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest point from Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 4, 2022, ahead of massive military drills off Taiwan following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP)

 

China’s largest-ever military exercises encircling Taiwan kicked off Thursday, in a show of force straddling vital international shipping lanes after a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi left Taiwan Wednesday after a trip that defied a series of stark threats from Beijing, which views the self-ruled island as its territory.

Pelosi was the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, and said her trip made it “unequivocally clear” that the United States would not abandon a democratic ally.

It sparked a furious reaction from Beijing, which vowed “punishment” and announced military drills in the seas around Taiwan — some of the world’s busiest waterways.

The exercises, which began around 12 pm (0400 GMT), involve “live-firing”, according to state media.

“Six major areas around the island have been selected for this actual combat exercise and during this period, relevant ships and aircraft should not enter the relevant waters and airspaces,” state broadcaster CCTV reported.

READ ALSO: 27 Chinese Warplanes Enter Taiwan’s Air Defence Zone: Taipei

AFP journalists in the border island of Pingtan saw several small projectiles flying into the sky followed by plumes of white smoke and loud booming sounds.

AFP was not in a position to identify the projectiles, which were fired from the proximity of nearby military installations, nor their precise direction.

The exercises are taking place in multiple zones around Taiwan — at some points within just 20 kilometres (12 miles) of the shore — and will conclude at midday on Sunday.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said it was closely watching the drills.

“The Ministry of National Defence stresses that it will uphold the principle of preparing for war without seeking war, and with an attitude of not escalating conflict and causing disputes,” it said in a statement.

Beijing’s nationalist state-run tabloid Global Times said, citing military analysts, that the exercises were “unprecedented” and that missiles would fly over Taiwan for the first time.

“This is the first time the PLA will launch live long-range artillery across” the Taiwan Strait, the newspaper said using the Chinese military’s formal name, the People’s Liberation Army.

The Group of Seven industrialised nations has condemned the drills, saying in a statement there was “no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait”.

‘Preparation For Actual Combat’ 

Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau issued warnings on Wednesday to ships to avoid the areas being used for the Chinese drills.

The Taiwanese cabinet said the drills would disrupt 18 international routes passing through its flight information region (FIR).

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific said it had ordered its aircraft to “avoid going through the designated airspace zones around the Taiwan region”.

The manoeuvres will take place along some of the busiest shipping routes on the planet, used to supply vital semiconductors and electronic equipment produced in East Asian factory hubs to global markets.

Beijing has defended the drills as “necessary and just”, pinning the blame for the escalation on the United States and its allies.

“In the current struggle surrounding Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, the United States are the provocateurs, China is the victim,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing Wednesday.

A Chinese military source also told AFP the exercises would be staged “in preparation for actual combat”.

“If the Taiwanese forces come into contact with the PLA on purpose and accidentally fire a gun, the PLA will take stern countermeasures, and all the consequences will be borne by the Taiwanese side,” the source said.

‘Some Limits’ 

Taiwan’s 23 million people have long lived with the possibility of an invasion, but that threat has intensified under President Xi Jinping, China’s most assertive ruler in a generation.

The island is once again a flashpoint between the United States and a Chinese leadership keen to project strength ahead of a crucial ruling party meeting this autumn at which Xi is expected to be given an unprecedented third term.

On the mainland, at what is said to be China’s closest point to Taiwan, AFP saw a batch of five military helicopters flying at a relatively low altitude near a popular tourist spot.

“China’s announced military exercises represent a clear escalation from the existing baseline of Chinese military activities around Taiwan and from the last Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995-1996,” said Amanda Hsiao, senior analyst for China at the International Crisis Group.

“Beijing is signalling that it rejects Taiwan’s sovereignty.”

Nevertheless, analysts have told AFP that China is not aiming to escalate the situation beyond its control — at least for now.

Titus Chen, an associate professor of political science at the National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan, said: “The last thing Xi wants is an accidental war.”

AFP