China raises tension by announcing military maneuvers near Taiwan ahead of Nancy Pelosi’s arrival | International

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The China Maritime Safety Administration announced on Tuesday new military exercises in the South China Sea —near the Taiwan Strait— and in Bohai Bay (in the north) for the next few days. Although the Chinese authorities claim that these exercises are part of the commemoration of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, celebrated on August 1, in Taiwan they fear that they are related to the probable imminent visit of the speaker of the House of Representatives. of the United States, Nancy Pelosi. Despite the fact that Beijing has expressed its opposition to said trip actively and passively, on Monday, anonymous sources from the White House confirmed that the delegation of US congressmen will land on Tuesday on the self-governed island that China considers part of its territory. Given the increase in the military presence of the Asian giant in the vicinity of Taiwan, the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense has warned that it will send reinforcements to the dividing line of the Strait of Formosa to deter “enemy threats”. The island has also raised its military alert level.

While Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan as part of her Asia-Pacific tour remains unofficial, China’s Foreign Ministry reiterates that if the 82-year-old legislator sets foot on the island “there will be forceful measures.” The social networks of the most populous nation on the planet are full of nationalist messages. This Tuesday, countless videos and photos of Chinese Army vehicles circulating in them are being transferred to the southern city of Xiamen, located about 300 kilometers from Taiwan and where a military base is located.

According to information collected by Taiwanese media, Chinese warplanes have flown this morning near the dividing line of the Taiwan Strait, while several ships – a missile destroyer and a frigate – have been positioned near its waters since Monday. . A source quoted by Reuters said Chinese forces repeatedly made tactical moves based on briefly reaching the division line and circling back to their starting position.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense has issued a statement in which it claims to be aware of all the military activities that are being carried out in the vicinity of the territory. They have also expressed that they have the “determination, capacity and confidence” to guarantee Taiwan’s national security. According to the official news agency CNA, the island has increased its alert level for combat until Thursday at noon, and the authorities do not rule out declaring an “emergency” in the coming days, “depending on the level of threat posed by the Chinese Army”.

During the daily press conference of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, spokeswoman Hua Chunying did not comment on the maneuvers, but emphasized that the current situation is due solely and exclusively to the actions of the United States: “I think the world can clearly appreciate that the United States is causing in order to increase tension in the Taiwan Strait.

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“China has repeatedly stated through multiple channels and at various levels in the Beijing-Washington talks its solemn stance against the US House Speaker’s visit to Taiwan,” he added. President Xi Jinping himself warned his counterpart Joe Biden last Thursday in a phone call that Pelosi’s trip would be equivalent to “playing with fire.”

Asked whether China’s response will include diplomatic or military measures, Hua has limited himself to saying that “the US side will definitely bear the responsibility and pay the price for damaging China’s sovereignty and security interests.” The Chinese Ministry of Defense already expressed last week, even before the conversation between the two leaders, that the People’s Liberation Army “will not sit idly by” if the visit takes place.

Diplomatic relations between China and other countries are based on the One China principle, an expression that implies that there is only one China and that this includes Taiwan, where the nationalist troops took refuge after being defeated in the civil war by the communist army in 1949. One of Beijing’s great concerns is that Pelosi’s trip will generate a domino effect that will open the door for other world leaders to visit Taiwan, which is understood as a show of support for the island’s independence.

Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang said Tuesday that the island “warmly welcomes” all foreign guests and would “organize all necessary preparations.” Taiwan’s Agriculture Council has announced that China has temporarily halted imports of more than 100 products from multiple Taiwanese food companies, a move seen as the first retaliation for the publicized visit.

According to the newspaper Liberty Times, Pelosi and her delegation will land in Taiwan tonight at 10:20 p.m. local time (4:20 p.m. in Spanish peninsular time), although she does not cite any source. The US House Speaker’s plane took off this morning from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, the second stop on her itinerary after visiting Singapore. Officially, it will also go to South Korea and Japan. The veteran lawmaker is known for her strong stance against the Chinese Communist Party: In 1991, Pelosi unfurled a banner in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to commemorate the victims of the massacre, two years after it took place. In addition, she has met with Chinese dissidents and the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile, and has expressed her support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

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