China is reportedly planning large-scale military drills around Taiwan after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) landed on the self-governing democratic island to show her support for the country’s independence.
According to a release from the Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will begin conducting “live-fire drills” and military exercises in the water and airspace around the entire island beginning Thursday. The planned drills and exercises will not end until Sunday.
China has condemned the visit from Pelosi, the first U.S. House speaker to make the visit in 25 years, and repeatedly warned there would be consequences if she stopped at the island.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) sees Taiwan as part of the mainland through its one-China policy and support from the U.S. as counter to that aim.
China’s Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Wu Qian said Pelosi ignored “repeated warnings of the serious consequences this visit would cause.”
“Pelosi insisted on making the wrong move, maliciously provoking and creating the crisis,” Wu said in remarks released by Xinhua. “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is on high alert and will take a series of targeted military operations in response to resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely thwart the interference by external forces and the separatist schemes for ‘Taiwan independence.’
Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949, but China has grown increasingly bold in recent years with military drills and cyberattacks, raising fears of an invasion.
The U.S. has pledged to indirectly defend the democratic island through the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act but has also promised China it will adhere to its one-China policy.
Pelosi published an opinion piece in The Washington Post that argued her visit to the island did not break the one-China policy but merely was part of her trip to east Asia, folded into the mission of reaffirming support and partnerships with nations in the Indo-Pacific region.
The speaker, however, said her stop in Taiwan was an “unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom.”
“We cannot stand by as the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] proceeds to threaten Taiwan — and democracy itself,” she wrote. “By traveling to Taiwan, we honor our commitment to democracy: reaffirming that the freedoms of Taiwan — and all democracies — must be respected.”