Chinese Taipei has accused China of planning to invade the island as it announced a new round of military drills in the waters around it in response to a controversial visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week.
Tensions have been on the rise in the region since Pelosi visited the island despite stern warnings from Beijing that the trip would have a “severe impact” on bilateral ties with the United States and that her move “gravely undermines” regional peace and stability.
China started military exercises after the visit and announced more drills on Monday after the scheduled end of the ones launched last week. Taipei began its own live-fire military drills on Tuesday, accusing China of “gross violations of international law.”
Taiwanese foreign minister Joseph Wu said, “China has used the drills in its military playbook to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan.”
“It is conducting large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyber-attacks, disinformation, and economic coercion, in an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan,” Wu said. “After the drills conclude, China may try to routinize its action in an attempt to wreck the long-term status quo across the Taiwan Strait,” he added.
“Its intentions are not likely to end there,” Wu said, referring to the security agreement between Beijing and the Solomon Islands, and China’s influence across the Pacific, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Pelosi’s visit infuriated China, which has sovereignty over the self-ruled Chinese Taipei and has publicly stated that it may take it by force one day, if necessary.
Under the “one China” policy, nearly all countries across the globe, the US included, recognize Beijing’s sovereignty over Chinese Taipei. Washington, however, engaged in direct contact with the secessionist government in Taipei, in violation of its own stated policy. The US also supplies Taipei with massive amounts of armaments.
In Beijing, the Defense Ministry maintained its diplomatic pressure on Washington, saying, “The current tense situation in the Taiwan Strait is entirely provoked and created by the US side on its own initiative, and the US side must bear full responsibility and serious consequences for this.”
“The bottom line cannot be broken, and communication requires sincerity,” ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in an online post.
China slapped sanctions on Pelosi and her family and withdrew from key talks on climate change and defense with the US over the visit. US officials have censured Beijing’s responses, describing them as overreaction.
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