Image Source: War on the Rocks
China has undertaken major military drills near Taiwan after key US politician Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.
Taiwan claims that China launched 11 ballistic missiles into the seas off the coasts of its north and south-west. Five Chinese missiles were also reported to have landed in Japanese waters, prompting Japan to demand an “immediate halt” to the exercises.
China saw Mrs. Pelosi’s visit as a challenge to its assertions of Taiwanese sovereignty. It sees Taiwan as a secessionist province that must eventually submit to its rule, even if it means using force.
The US does not formally recognize Taiwan, which has operated autonomously since 1950. Taiwan continues to have a tight connection with Washington, which includes the sale of arms to help Taiwan defend itself.
According to the Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command, the combined blockade, marine target assault, strike on ground targets, and airspace control operations were given particular attention during the exercises.
Pelosi, the United States House of Representatives Speaker’s brief visit to the Island province on Wednesday, which the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described as “manic, irresponsible, and irrational,” heightened tensions. In the past 25 years, she is the highest-ranking US official to have visited the island.
China responded by launching an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles and engaging in military drills along Taiwan’s coast.
Taiwan has activated its defense systems and is monitoring the situation, according to the defense ministry. In its statement, Taiwan’s foreign ministry claimed that China was “following the example of North Korea in deliberately firing missiles into waters near other states.”
North Korea, a steadfast ally of China, has been accused of raising tensions in the region by carrying out many missile tests recently.
Japan vehemently condemned Thursday’s missile launches by China.
China’s missile launches are obstructing flights to and from Taiwan as well as trade waterways.
Ships have been forced to alter their paths, and it is feared that days-long delays will impact supply networks and impede international trade. More than 50 international flights have been canceled at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport.
Following the escalation of hostilities, the US Navy declared that a fleet carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, was sailing in the direction of the waters south-east of Taiwan.
According to a US Navy spokesman, the USS Ronald Reagan and her strike group are now engaged in operations in the Philippine Sea as part of their routine patrol in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
A US plane that has the ability to track ballistic missiles in flight has also taken off from Japan and is heading in the general direction of Taiwan.
Basics about China and Taiwan
Why are ties between Taiwan and China so strained? The self-governing island is regarded as being on Chinese soil, and China contends that it should be reunited with the mainland, if necessary, by force.
Who is in charge of Taiwan? The island has a self-governing constitution, democratically elected leaders, and a nearly 300,000-strong active military.
Who recognizes Taiwan? Only a few countries recognize Taiwan. Instead, Beijing is the location where the Chinese government is most widely known. Even though the US doesn’t have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it is nonetheless compelled by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
Opinions expressed by California Gazette contributors are their own.