Nancy Pelosi withdraws from Taiwan as China prepares to begin military maneuvers around the island

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday the island “will not back down” in the face of threats from China, which is set to dangerously launch military maneuvers near Taiwan’s coast in retaliation for the president’s visit. States Representatives Nancy Pelosi. The highest-ranking US official to visit the island in 25 years confirmed a “peaceful” arrival in the region during a meeting with Taiwan’s president, while vowing the US would not abandon the democratic island. Invasion of Beijing.

Arriving on a US military plane on Tuesday evening, Nancy Pelosi left the island at 6pm (12pm in Switzerland) on Wednesday for South Korea, the next stop on her Asia tour. His brief stay has angered Beijing, which views Taiwan as part of its territory and strongly opposes any international recognition of the island.

read more: In Taipei, Nancy Pelosi defies Chinese authority

“This is a real joke. The US is violating China’s sovereignty under the guise of “democracy” (…) and those who offend China will be punished,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi threatened on Wednesday. China’s defense ministry has pledged “targeted military operations” and will begin a series of military maneuvers around the island on Thursday, including “long-range live ammunition firing” across the Taiwan Strait, which separates mainland China.

According to Taiwanese authorities, a “brutal threat”

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that the drills were a “necessary and legitimate measure to respond to extreme provocations by some US politicians and Taiwan separatists”. “Even in the face of deliberately increased military threats, Taiwan will not back down,” Taiwan’s president responded. “We (…) will continue to defend democracy”, he said during a meeting with Nancy Pelosi, “thanking her for taking concrete steps to show (her) unwavering support to Taiwan at this critical moment.”

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According to coordinates released by the Chinese military, part of the military operations must take place within 20 kilometers of Taiwan’s coast. Taiwan’s defense ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang said some of China’s strategic areas… have encroached on Taiwan’s maritime territory. “This is an irrational act aimed at challenging the international order,” he said.

The Mainland Affairs Council, the Taiwan government’s policy-making body towards Beijing, accused the Chinese regime of engaging in “evil atrocities” that would “seriously affect the peace and prosperity of East Asia”. Meanwhile, Japan said it was “concerned” about Chinese exercises, saying some would encroach on its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

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Trade Retaliation

Taiwanese authorities announced on Tuesday-Wednesday night that 21 Chinese military aircraft entered the island’s air defense identification zone – an area much larger than its airspace. Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce announced sanctions, including halting exports of natural sand to Taiwan – a key component in the manufacture of semiconductors, one of the island’s top exports. Chinese customs have also suspended imports of citrus fruits and some fish from Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense pledged that the military would “protect national security”. According to US military sources, several US ships, including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, are also in the area. Most observers underestimate the likelihood of armed conflict. But U.S. officials said China is preparing to show its military might.

Although U.S. officials continue to visit the island, China considers the visit by Nancy Pelosi, the third person in the U.S. administration, a major provocation. Last week, in a telephone interview with his counterpart Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping had already called on the US not to “play with fire”.

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read more: Nancy Pelosi on Taiwan: “Don’t play with fire,” Xi Jinping calls

Since 1979, Washington has recognized only one Chinese government, that of Beijing. The United States also maintains “strategic ambiguity,” refraining from saying whether or not it will defend Taiwan militarily in the event of an invasion.

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