China using visit of Nancy Pelosi as pretext to hold war, says Taiwan
China used the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei as a pretext to hold war games in the region that helped prepare it for a possible invasion of the island, Taiwan’s foreign minister said, adding Beijing had been planning the move for some time. China is aiming to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, Joseph Wu said at a briefing in Taipei on Tuesday, saying the military activity adds to concern that Beijing may proceed with an actual invasion.
“The median line of the Taiwan Strait has kept the status quo in the strait for decades, and it’s a symbol of the status quo in the strait,” said Wu. “This fact has been harmed for the past few days due to the Chinese drills, which affect regional peace, stability, and especially Taiwan’s security.”
China sent more than 120 aircraft across the median line from Wednesday to Sunday. Taiwan responded by deploying aircraft and vessels, issuing radio warnings and deploying land-based missile systems to monitor the activities. “We want to get more support from countries around the world to jointly safeguard the status quo in the strait and maintain the authority of the strait median-line,” Wu said.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry said it detected 39 Chinese warplanes and 13 warships around the island through 5:00 p.m. Monday, with 21 PLA jets having flown on the eastern part of the median line of the Taiwan Strait and the island’s southwest air defense identification zone.
China’s military announced a new exercise “near Taiwan” on Monday, signaling that Beijing wanted to keep up pressure on the island past a series of drills announced in response to Pelosi’s visit -- which have been the most provocative in decades. Beijing denounced the visit by Pelosi as a violation of the US’s pledge 50 years ago not to formally recognize the government of Taiwan, which China claims as its territory.
Wu said that China’s military actions violate Taiwan’s rights under international law, but that Taipei would remain calm in the face of the exercises. He added that most people in Taiwan supported the trip by Pelosi, the first sitting House speaker in about 25 years to visit the island.
Taiwan proceeded with a live-fire artillery drill Tuesday simulating a defense against a Chinese invasion.
The drills, which took place for about an hour in southern Taiwan’s Pingtung on Tuesday, simulated a defense against an attack from a People’s Liberation Army convoy on the beach, according to a spokesman from Taiwan’s Army. The spokesman said the drills aren’t related to the recent Chinese military exercises, calling them routine and saying they were planned earlier.
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