Beijing conducted live-fire drills at the Taiwan Strait as Nancy Pelosi, a US lawmaker, began her controversial Asia trip
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has launched military exercises off the coast of Fujian Province, just across the strait between the mainland and Taiwan. Live-fire drills were publicly announced amid rising tensions with Washington over the self-governing island’s status.
The drills were to take place Saturday morning near Pingtan islands, Fujian. This was according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The drills were to be held near the Pingtan islands off the coast of Fujian.
It did not provide any details about the weapons or the units to be used during drills. Pingtan is directly between the mainland and Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province and part of China’s sovereign territory.
Chinese officials issued repeated warnings this month that a planned trip by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) to Taiwan would undermine America’s relationship with China and could provoke a military response. Pelosi left for Asia Friday with plans to visit Japan, South Korea and Malaysia. Her itinerary included Taiwan as a stop. “tentative,” according to NBC News.
Pelosi is the highest ranking US official to have visited Taiwan since Newt Gingrich was House Speaker. Unlike Pelosi, however, Gingrich did not represent Washington’s ruling party at the time. Official US policy is to acknowledge, without endorsing, Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan. The recent tensions have intensified over the island republic, partially due to US politicians making trips to Taipei.
Chinese President Xi Jinping warned US President Joe Biden in a telephone call on Thursday that Beijing wouldn’t tolerate “external interference” in China’s dealings with Taiwan. “Those who play with fire will perish by it,”Biden was informed by he. “It is hoped that the US will be clear-eyed about this.”
The PLA may have been referring to Saturday’s drill when it posted a social media message saying, “Preparing for war.”This post apparently sparked strong reactions from China. Sina Weibo has received thousands of thumbs-up. Xi and other Chinese officials repeatedly stated that China retains the right of reunifying with Taiwan using force.
“Preparing for War(备战）！”
The official #Weiboaccount of The 80th Army Group #CCP' People's Liberation Army #PLAThis two-Chinese word post was posted 15 hours ago. It has received 650K Likes, 32K Comments, and 28K Shares so far. pic.twitter.com/voEJ3BHFn6
— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferatntd) July 29, 2022