More than 20 Chinese navy planes flew into Taiwan’s air protection zone on Tuesday, officers in Taipei mentioned, as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi started her controversial go to to the self-ruled island that Beijing considers its territory.
The island’s protection ministry mentioned in a press release on Twitter: “21 PLA aircraft … entered the southwestern ADIZ of #Taiwan on August 2, 2022,” referring to the air protection identification zone.
The ADIZ just isn’t the identical as Taiwan’s territorial airspace however features a wider space that overlaps a part of China’s personal air protection identification zone and contains among the mainland.
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday night time, defying a collection of warnings and threats from China which have fueled tensions between the world’s two superpowers.
Second in line to the presidency, he’s the highest-profile elected US official to go to Taiwan in 25 years and Beijing has made it clear that it regards his presence as a significant provocation, placing the area on edge.
Live broadcasts confirmed the 82-year-old lawmaker, who flew in a US navy car, being greeted at Taipei’s Songshan Airport by international minister Joseph Wu.
“Our delegation’s visit to Taiwan honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy,” he mentioned in a press release upon his arrival, including that his go to “in no way contradicts” the US coverage in direction of Taiwan and Beijing.
Taiwan mentioned the journey confirmed “rock solid” help from Washington.
Pelosi is presently on a tour of Asia and whereas neither she nor her workplace have confirmed the go to to Taipei, a number of US and Taiwanese media shops have reported that it’s within the playing cards — triggering days of elevated anger from Beijing.
China’s navy mentioned it was on “high alert” and would “launch a series of targeted military actions in response” to the go to.
It instantly introduced plans for a collection of navy workout routines within the waters across the island to start on Wednesday, together with (*21*) within the Taiwan Strait.
“Those who play with fire will perish,” added Beijing’s international ministry.
No want for a ‘disaster’
China considers self-ruled, democratic Taiwan its territory and has vowed to someday occupy the island, by power if needed.
It tries to maintain Taiwan remoted on the world stage and opposes international locations which have official exchanges with Taipei.
In a name with US President Joe Biden final week, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Washington in opposition to “playing with fire” with Taiwan.
While the Biden administration is known to be against a cease in Taiwan, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby mentioned Pelosi has the appropriate to go the place she needs.
“There is no reason for this to explode into conflict. There is no change in our policy,” he advised CNN shortly after Pelosi’s arrival.
The final speaker of the US House of Representatives to go to Taiwan was Newt Gingrich in 1997.
Kirby reiterated that US coverage has not modified towards Taiwan.
This means help for the top of its personal authorities, whereas Beijing diplomatically acknowledges Taipei and opposes a proper declaration of Taiwan independence or a robust takeover by China.
Moscow mentioned it was in “full solidarity with China”, calling the prospect of a Pelosi go to “pure provocation”.
China has refused to sentence Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has been accused of offering diplomatic cowl for the Kremlin by flouting Western sanctions and arms gross sales to Kyiv.
All eyes are on Taiwan
Pelosi left Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday after assembly with Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri and Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.
So many individuals have been monitoring the US navy aircraft carrying him on FlightRadar that the web site says some customers have skilled loss.
The aircraft took a circuitous route that prevented the South China Sea — claimed by Beijing — earlier than heading for the east coast of the Philippines.
Access to the press round Pelosi was severely restricted and restricted to some or transient statements confirming conferences with officers.
His itinerary included stops in South Korea and Japan — however the prospect of a visit to Taiwan dominated consideration.
The Taipei authorities has remained silent on whether or not he’ll go to however information continues to emerge.
The capital’s well-known Taipei 101 skyscraper was lit up with the phrases “Speaker Pelosi… Thank You” on Tuesday night time an hour earlier than Pelosi’s aircraft arrived.
‘Seek to punish Taiwan’
Taiwan’s 23 million folks have lengthy lived with the potential for an invasion, however that menace has intensified beneath Xi, China’s most assertive chief in a technology.
“Beijing should not decide who can visit Taiwan or how the US should interact with Taiwan,” Wang Ting-yu, a lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, advised AFP forward of the go to.
“I think China’s open intimidation is counter-productive.”
Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia program on the US-based German Marshall Fund suppose tank, mentioned the probability of Beijing selecting struggle was “low”.
“But the possibility that… (China) will take a series of military, economic, and diplomatic actions to show strength and determination is not insignificant,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Taipei Agriculture Council mentioned on Tuesday that China has suspended imports of some Taiwanese items, together with some fishery merchandise, tea and honey. The council mentioned China cited regulatory violations.
Pelosi’s potential go to has been adopted by a flurry of navy exercise throughout the area that highlights simply how highly effective the Taiwan situation is.