On August 7, the eastern zone of the PLA Combat Command reported that exercises around Taiwan are proceeding as normal. China is using a wide variety of weapons in the exercise launched in response to the recent visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The exercise began as early as August 4 after the U.S. official left Taiwan. They are held on land, in the air and at sea. About 10 Chinese and Taiwanese warships passed in close proximity to each other in the Taiwan Strait, with several Chinese ships crossing the midline between the mainland and the island.
The exercises in the vicinity of Taiwan are not the only ones. The PLA leaders planned to hold exercises in the southern part of the Yellow Sea, which will last at least until August 15, earlier similar exercises were held jointly with Russian troops. In addition to the exercises, Beijing also imposed sanctions on two Taiwanese foundations, banned the export of natural sand and some fruits to Taiwan, Pelosi herself and her family. Beijing also suspended dialogue with Washington on such issues as climate change, the process of returning migrants, drug control. In response, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken condemned China’s statements on the termination of cooperation.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on August 8 that the maneuvers were a “necessary warning” to the United States and Taiwan. It is a “fair and appropriate” response to their provocations, he said. An article in China’s state-run CCTV also noted that China’s military exercises demonstrated that “Taiwan’s so-called territorial waters do not exist, Taiwan is part of China, and the Chinese fleet is sailing in its own territorial waters.”
The reaction of the Chinese Foreign Ministry was not long in coming: “Disregarding China’s serious concerns and our strong opposition, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted on visiting the Taiwan region of China. This represents a gross interference in China’s internal affairs. It seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, seriously violates the one-China principle, and seriously threatens peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. In response to Pelosi’s blatant provocation, China has decided to impose sanctions on her and her immediate family in accordance with applicable PRC laws.”
China’s military exercises were due to end as early as Monday, but Beijing saw fit to continue. During the maneuvers, several mainland Chinese ballistic missiles flew over Taipei. Chinese ships also crossed unofficial territorial waters in Taiwan, and fighter jets violated airspace, which is already the norm for Beijing. Under international law, territorial waters are usually a strip of sea 12 nautical miles wide, or 22 kilometers, adjacent to the shores of a state.
The action of the Chinese army was perceived by the Taiwanese government as a rehearsal for the capture of the island, and as a result, Taiwanese fighter jets were patrolling in the air. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned China’s decision to extend the exercise, saying it was deliberately creating a crisis. The ministry demanded Beijing to stop the military actions.
Some countries that have a pro-American stance, such as Australia and Japan, condemned China’s drills. The countries said the exercises were provocative and reckless and posed a threat to regional security.
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