BEIJING (NYTIMES, BLOOMBERG) – China declared it would conduct missile tests and military drills around Taiwan shortly after US House speaker Nancy Pelosi defied Beijing on Tuesday (Aug 2) by landing on the island.
The People’s Liberation Army said it would stage a series of military drills including “long-range live firing in the Taiwan Strait” from Tuesday evening.
“This action is targeted at the US’ shocking recent major escalation on the Taiwan issue, and serves as a serious warning to Taiwanese independence forces or those seeking independence,” Mr Shi Yi, a spokesman for the Eastern Theatre Command, said in a statement.
Those exercises would include “long-range live firing in the Taiwan Strait” and “regular-guided fire testing in the eastern waters” off Taiwan, the statement said. The timing leaves open the possibility that the drills could begin while Mrs Pelosi is still in Taiwan.
Separately, the official Xinhua News Agency announced military drills would take place from Aug 4-7 in six areas that encircle Taiwan, giving coordinates for the exercises.
“For safety reasons, relevant ships and aircraft should not enter the above sea areas and airspaces during this period,” Xinhua added.
One of the areas of the planned drills appeared to be less than 12 miles from Kaohsiung, a southern port city, according to a map released by Xinhua.
Separate statements released by China’s Foreign Ministry and Defence Ministry framed the military actions as necessary to “resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
Chinese state media has kept up a steady drumbeat of threatening messages. The official People’s Daily newspaper wrote on social media on Tuesday that “people who play with fire will burn themselves”, apparently echoing similar warnings issued by Chinese officials over the past year.