China stepped up its provocations against the US today by flying 21 Chinese aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense zone according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense.
Pentagon officials have assessed ongoing provocations from China towards the US and US allies over the past five years and have concluded that their threats towards the House Speaker, including an ominous reference to Pelosi’s plane being shot down, were merely an attempt at intimidation.
China’s Ministry of Defense escalated their response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan today by announcing “targeted” missile tests and military drills around Taiwan.
The Ministry vowed to “resolutely thwart external interference and Taiwan’s independence separatist attempts” through “targeted military operations” intended to “safeguard national sovereignty”.
— The Hill (@thehill) August 3, 2022
The Director of the MIT Security Studies Program, M. Taylor Fravel said that these “unprecedented” drills are “the largest number of exercises to be conducted very close to the island of Taiwan itself, and the first to take place on all sides surrounding Taiwan.”
Other experts pointed out that these drills would conspicuously stretch into waters that belong to Taiwan and could involve flying missiles over the island as well, clearly provocations in response to the US’s refusal to yield to China’s demand.
Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan as part of an Asian tour over the course of this week has been the center of attention for much of the world. China’s claim that her visit violates the long standing “One-China” agreement between Washington and Beijing has been the source of escalating tension in the Indo-Pacific.
John Kirby, National Security Council spokesperson, refuted this claim, saying, “We don’t support Taiwan independence, but we absolutely do support the right and the prerogative of congressional leaders to include Speaker Pelosi to visit Taiwan if that’s what she wants to do.”
After landing in Taiwan, Pelosi said, “Our Congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy.”
Pelosi made her trip in spite of military officials warning that it was “not a good idea.”
Wang Yi, China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, even said that US officials were “playing with fire” by sending Pelosi to Taiwan in spite of warnings from Beijing. He said:
“This will definitely not have a good outcome… The exposure of America’s bullying face again shows it as the world’s biggest saboteur of peace. These moves, like playing with fire, are extremely dangerous. Those who play with fire will perish by it,”
Kirby said, “The aggressiveness, the coercion, the increase in tensions in the last weeks and months have all come from the Chinese side. What we have said is that there is no reason that this visit should escalate tensions in any way whatsoever.”
Earlier this week, the White House issued a statement in which it said that Biden’s administration “will not take the bait or engage in saber rattling”, pointing out that Pelosi — while the first House Speaker to visit Taiwan since Newt Gingrich 20 years ago — is not the first member of congress to visit Taiwan in recent years.