China announces military drill ahead of possible Pelosi visit to Taiwan

China announces military drill ahead of possible Pelosi visit to Taiwan

Beijing judges that a visit from Nancy Pelosi would be a major provocation and has been threatening for several days with “consequences” if she carries out her displacement plan.

Chinese ships (illustration photo). AFP

China announced on Saturday July 30 the organization of a “live ammunition” military exercise in the Taiwan Strait, an initiative taken before a possible controversial visit by the leader of the American deputies Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. The maneuvers will however be limited in area and will take place in the immediate vicinity of the Chinese coast.

China considers Taiwan, an island with a population of around 23 million, to be one of its provinces, which it has yet to successfully reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the civil war. Chinese (1949). Opposed to any initiative giving the Taiwanese authorities international legitimacy, Beijing is against any official contact between Taiwan and other countries.

Firing zones off the Taiwanese coast

US officials visit the island frequently, but China deems a visit by Nancy Pelosi, one of the highest figures in the US state, would be a major provocation. In this context, the Chinese authorities in charge of maritime security have announced that a “military exercise” would be organized on Saturday off the island of Pingtan, in the Chinese province of Fujian (east) located opposite Taiwan.

“Live ammunition will be fired (…) between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. (2:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. French time) and any entry (into these waters) will be prohibited”, specifies the press release dated Thursday, but only reported on Friday by the media. Chinese. Pingtan is the territory controlled by the People’s Republic of China that is closest to Taiwan: the area of ​​​​Saturday’s maneuvers is located about 120 kilometers from the Taiwanese coast.
Threat of “consequences”

Nancy Pelosi is not mentioned in the release. But Beijing has been threatening “consequences” for several days if it carries out its displacement plan. “Those who play with fire end up getting burned,” Chinese President Xi Jinping told his American counterpart Joe Biden on Thursday during a telephone interview on the Taiwan issue.

On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he hoped his country and China would “judiciously” manage their differences over Taiwan. Washington has no diplomatic relations with Taipei and recognizes the communist regime in Beijing as the sole representative of China. But the United States sells arms to the island and praises its “democratic” regime.

Nancy Pelosi’s potential trip to Taiwan could come in the next few days. General Mark Milley, the US Army chief of staff, told the press that if she asked for “military support”, he would “do what is necessary to ensure” a “safe” progress of her visit.

 

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