China continued to show its displeasure with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent trip to Taiwan on Saturday by conducting military drills for the third day in a row. These drills have brought China’s territory ever closer to that of Taiwan and have raised concerns about the possibility of armed conflict.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Defense of Taiwan announced that multiple groups of Chinese military aircraft and warships had been spotted in the region of the Taiwan Strait. The ministry also stated that some of the vessels had crossed the informal median line that separates the island from the Chinese mainland. According to the ministry, it seemed as if they were participating in a drill that was mimicking an assault on the main island of Taiwan.
Already, China’s show of power, which is slated to continue through Sunday, has threatened land that Taiwan claims to be its own in a more direct manner than any prior drills have done.
At least eleven missiles have been fired by China into the seas to the north, south, and east of Taiwan. At least one of these missiles went over the island, however Taiwan claims it was at a high altitude and did not pose a danger. Additionally, on Friday, it sent fighter planes, bombers, destroyers, drones, and escort ships to the seas around the island. During the Taiwan Strait crisis in the middle of the 1990s, when China was also shooting missiles near Taiwan, some of the zones that the Chinese military selected for the drills that are taking place this week are closer to the island than the locations that were disclosed during that time.
According to authorities in Taiwan, at least 49 Chinese military planes have crossed the median line since the drills started on Thursday. This information comes from officials in Taiwan.
Ms. Pelosi’s travel to Taiwan, which she had said was designed to express support for the island and its thriving democracy, prompted the Chinese government to conduct the military exercises, which are the most visible component of the Chinese reaction. Before Ms. Pelosi’s arrival on Tuesday, China issued many warnings that it would respond negatively to her travel to Taiwan because it would have “severe implications.” China asserts that Taiwan is part of its territory, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged that the two sides would eventually be reunited, even if it requires the use of force.
In addition, China said on Friday that it will postpone or stop discussions with the United States on military cooperation and climate change. This move, according to the opinions of some observers, might enhance the likelihood of a misunderstanding developing into a full-fledged crisis.
In Manila on Saturday, Philippine Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is now serving as president of the Philippines. Mr. Marcos told Mr. Blinken in a public exchange that he did not think that Ms. Pelosi’s visit had “raised the intensity” of tensions in the region, which he said had already been high. This was an apparent rebuttal to China’s claims that the United States was responsible for the current frictions between the two countries.
Concerns that China may take some kind of action to make it impossible for Ms. Pelosi to go there were unfounded. However, American officials continue to be worried about the possibility that the drills, which started less than twenty-four hours after she departed Taiwan, may potentially develop into a more direct clash, either purposefully or accidently.
Some users of Chinese social media have expressed disappointment or embarrassment that the government did not go further to prevent Ms. Pelosi’s visit; some of these users made it clear that they had been expecting military action. Others have expressed surprise that the government did not go further.
Even if the exercises do not immediately result in a full-blown conflict, they may mark the beginning of a new pattern of aggressiveness and intrusions on the part of the Chinese military.
The United States has made efforts to prevent further inciting China’s aggression. It has maintained that it would not change its stance on maintaining the status quo in Taiwan, despite the fact that it acknowledges China’s claimed claim to the island but does not recognise it.
After some Chinese missiles landed on Thursday in waters that Japan claims as its own, leading to the Prime Minister of Japan calling for a “immediate halt,” a representative for the Chinese Embassy in Japan warned Japan not to “slide into the abyss” of geopolitical confrontation. This warning came after the Prime Minister of Japan called for a “immediate halt.”