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Angry China carries out Taiwan blockading exercises for US House Speaker’s island visit

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(TibetanReview.net, Aug04’22) – Vowing to punish both the US and Taiwan independence forces, China said Aug 3 that it had unveiled a number of countermeasures in response to what it called US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s provocative Aug 2-3 visit to Taiwan. These will heighten tensions across the Taiwan Straits and further worsen the deteriorated China-US ties, the official chinadaily.com.cn Aug 4 cited Chinese analysts as saying.

All of the countermeasures will be “forceful, effective and resolute” and both the US and “Taiwan independence” forces will feel them gradually and in a sustained way, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was quoted as saying at a regular news conference Aug 3.

The report noted that Pelosi, 82 and the second in line to the US presidency, had concluded the highest-level visit in 25 years by a US government official to Taiwan on Aug 3 afternoon. During her stay in Taipei, she visited the legislature of the island, and met with Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen, as well as some “human rights activists”.

Pelosi visited Taiwan as a part of her Asian tour which also took her to Singapore and Malaysia and she was headed for South Korea and Japan after that.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, left, and Taiwanese President President Tsai Ing-wen wave during a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. (Photo courtesy of the Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)

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China’s official globaltimes.cn reported Aug 3 that Joint military exercises around the island of Taiwan by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continued on Aug 3 with a joint blockade, sea assault and land and air combat trainings, involving the use of advanced weapons including J-20 stealth fighter jets and DF-17 hypersonic missiles after the drills started on Aug 2 evening, when Pelosi landed on the island “which seriously violates China’s sovereignty.”

The report cited Chinese experts as saying the exercises were unprecedented as the PLA conventional missiles were expected to fly over the island of Taiwan for the first time, with PLA forces entering an area within 12 nautical miles of the island and “the so-called median line” ceasing to exist.

By surrounding Taiwan entirely, the PLA is completely blockading the island, demonstrating the Chinese mainland’s absolute control over the Taiwan question, the Chinese experts have said.

The PLA will also conduct important military exercises and training activities including live-fire drills in six large maritime areas and their air space surrounding the island of Taiwan, in its north, northeast, east, south, southwest and northwest, from Aug 4  noon to Aug 7 noon, the report said.

Apart from holding military drills near Taiwan, the Chinese measures include, conducting large-scale air and naval activities, punishing organizations related to die-hard “Taiwan independence” elements, and suspending natural sand exports to Taiwan as well as the imports of some farm produce from the island, said the chinadaily.com.cn report.

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Meanwhile, Taiwan’s defence ministry said it scrambled jets on Aug 3 to warn away 27 Chinese aircraft in its air defence zone, adding that 22 of them had crossed the median line separating the self-ruled island from China.

Taiwan also dispatched aircraft and deployed missile systems to “monitor” the Chinese activities into its air defence identification zone, or ADIZ, Reuters Aug 3 cited Taipei as saying.

The report cited a source familiar with Taiwan’s security planning as saying that the 22 jets that crossed the median line did not fly too far into the unofficial buffer from the Chinese side. Neither side’s aircraft normally cross the median line.

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During her visit, Pelosi pledged “ironclad support for Taiwan’s democracy, including on matters of security & stability.”

“Our discussions with Taiwan leadership reaffirm our support for our partner & promote our shared interests, including advancing a free & open Indo-Pacific region. America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy,” Pelosi, the first female speaker in US history, tweeted before her departure from Taiwan.

In a separate tweet, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, herself the country’s first female President, shared photos of her meeting with Pelosi saying “A pleasure to meet with [Speaker Pelosi] & recognise her longstanding support for Taiwan.

“Your visit not only reflects strong US congressional support for bilateral ties – it also sends a message to the world that democracies stand together in the face of common challenges,” Tsai wrote.

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Pelosi has a long history of taking on the authoritarian leadership of China. Her latest visit is a culmination of her long years of activism that has irked Beijing, including her closeness to Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, whom she met with during a 2008 visit to Dharamsala.

As lawmaker and House Speaker, she has multiple times felicitated the Tibetan leader, teaming up with actor Richard Gere and Uma Thurman among others to raise awareness on the Tibet issue, noted the timesofindia.com Aug 3.

Going further back, she enraged Beijing very early in her legislative career in 1991 when she unveiled a pro-democracy banner during a Congressional delegation visit to China at the very place it sought to crush it: Tiananmen Square. Chinese police hustled her out of there.

Pelosi’s stance against communist China grew and in 1993 she even challenged Bill Clinton’s trade outreach and accommodation that resulted in the US granting the Most Favored Nation trading status to Beijing. Some analysts now say it triggered the industrial decline of America, the report noted.

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