LChina reacts to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Twenty-seven Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense zone on Wednesday, the country’s authorities said. 27 Chinese military aircraft “entered the surrounding area (Air Defense Identification Zone, wider than airspace) on August 3, 2022,” Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense said on Twitter.
Already the day before, the Taipei government had condemned the entry of about twenty Chinese military aircraft into its Taiwanese air defense identification zone, while Nancy Pelosi, despite warnings, stomped on the tarmac in the Taiwanese capital, Chinese guards.
A visit scrutinized by the whole world
The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, left Taiwan at noon (French time) on Wednesday, April 3, ending a historic and controversial visit to which Beijing responded with threats and announcements of military exercises. The 82-year-old elected official greeted dignitaries on the tarmac at Songshan Airport in Taipei before boarding a US military aircraft, according to images broadcast live on television.
Earlier, overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday (August 3) that Taiwan “will not back down” in the face of the military threat from China, which has announced military maneuvers. the island in retaliation for the visit of the US Speaker of the House of Representatives.
During a meeting with Taiwan’s leader in Taipei, Nancy Pelosi confirmed that she had arrived “in peace” to the region, while assuring that the United States will not abandon its commitments to the democratic island, which is under threat of invasion by Beijing. “Today our delegation (…) came to Taiwan to say unequivocally that we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and that we are proud of our enduring friendship,” said the American-elect, the most senior official. American who visited the island for 25 years.
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Nancy Pelosi, 82, arrived in Taipei on Tuesday night on a US military plane, prompting strong reactions in Beijing. The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned “a serious violation” of US commitments to China, which “seriously undermines regional peace and stability”.
The Chinese government summoned US ambassador Nicholas Burns on Tuesday evening. Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng expressed his country’s “strong protests” to her, adding that “[Nancy Pelosis]initiative to visit Taiwan is extremely shocking and the consequences will be very serious”, the new Chinese agency reported. On Wednesday, Beijing warned that “those who offend China will be punished”, through the voice of its foreign minister. “It is a fun, pure and simple. Under the guise of “democracy”, the US is violating China’s sovereignty”, Minister Wang Yi also declared on the sidelines of an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) meeting in Phnom Penh.
The military drills, which will approach up to 20 kilometers from Taiwan’s coast, “constitute a necessary and legitimate measure to respond to the serious provocations by certain US politicians and Taiwanese separatists,” declared Hua Chunying, a door to the press – spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
China’s Defense Ministry, meanwhile, has promised “targeted military actions”, with a series of military maneuvers around the island starting on Wednesday, including “long-range munitions firing” in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from mainland China. According to the coordinates published by the Chinese army, part of the military operations will take place 20 kilometers from the coast of Taiwan.
China’s Ministry of Commerce also announced economic sanctions and announced a suspension of exports to Taiwan of natural sand – a key component in the manufacture of semiconductors, one of the island’s biggest exports.
“In the face of deliberately increased military threats, Taiwan will not withdraw,” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen responded on Wednesday. “We will (…) continue to defend democracy,” she said during her meeting with Nancy Pelosi, whom she thanked for “the concrete steps that show (her) unwavering support for Taiwan at this critical time.”
Taiwan authorities reported overnight Tuesday-Wednesday that 21 Chinese military aircraft entered the island’s air defense identification zone – an area much larger than its airspace.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense condemned “an attempt to threaten our ports and our important urban areas and to unilaterally undermine regional peace and stability”. “The army will definitely remain in place and protect national security. We ask the public to remain calm and support the army,” he added.
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Low risk of armed conflict, but high tensions
Several American ships also sail in the region, including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reaganaccording to US military sources. Most observers rate the likelihood of armed conflict as low. But US officials said they were bracing for shows of force by the Chinese military. Japan, meanwhile, said it was “concerned” about the Chinese military exercises, some of which Tokyo said would spill over into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
China considers Taiwan, with its 23 million inhabitants, to be one of its provinces that it has not yet succeeded in annexing to the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War (1949). Contrary to any initiative that gives the Taiwanese authorities international legitimacy, Beijing opposes any official contact between Taiwan and other countries. US officials visit the island regularly. But China considers a visit by Nancy Pelosi, the third person in the US state, to be a major provocation. Last week, during a phone interview with his American counterpart Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping had already urged the US not to “play with fire”.
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Since 1979, Washington has recognized only one Chinese government, Beijing’s, while continuing to provide support to the Taiwanese authorities, notably through major arms sales. The United States also practices “strategic ambiguity,” refraining from saying whether it will defend Taiwan militarily in the event of an invasion.