Unverified videos of Chinese military hardware on the move have appeared online ahead of Nancy Pelosi’s expected visit to Taiwan
Numerous armored vehicles, helicopters and other military hardware have been spotted in China’s Fujian Province, just across the strait from Taiwan, according to unverified videos posted on social media on Tuesday.
According to media reports, the alleged armoury buildup is occurring amid US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s arrival on the island. Beijing considers the island part of its territory.
Videos on social media – purportedly shot in Fujian – showed long rows of armored vehicles and military trucks moving along the local roads. Also, semi-trailers and trucks transporting tanks were filmed.
The railroad was apparently used for the deployment. A clip of what seems to be the Dong-Feng15 short-range missile ballistic on the move is shown.
Fujian’s beachgoers also captured armored vehicles and helicopters moving across the sand. The authorities did not close the beaches. Instead, the military provided a warning via loudspeakers to warn people that the hardware was nearby.
Chinese People’s Liberation Army had earlier announced that military drills would be held in South China Sea (which includes Taiwan Strait) starting Tuesday at midnight. These war games will last until Saturday August 6.
Large-scale live-fire drills were held by the PLA off Fujian Province on Saturday.
Beijing has been angered by reports that Pelosi’s Asian tour could include a stop in Taiwan, calling the possible trip a “dangerous and provocative”Promising to do everything possible to keep it from happening.
Despite Taipei not being among the official destinations of the House speaker’s tour, US and Taiwanese officials have told the media that she could land on the island on Tuesday.
Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, issued Monday’s warning to America about the possible visit. “if you play with fire, you will get burned.”
A Chinese military expert told state-run newspaper the Global Times on Tuesday that the PLA’s “warplanes may fire shells diagonally ahead of Pelosi’s plane as a further warning” if Pelosi’s aircraft tries to approach the island.
On Monday, a US Navy strike force led by an aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was spotted near Taiwan in the Philippine waters. Media reports have also claimed that Pelosi’s plane could be escorted by military jets if she decides to go ahead with the visit.
Taiwan was self-governing in 1949. However, it has not declared independence from China. The US has maintained strong, unofficial relations with Taiwan, 23.5 million people, despite officially recognizing Beijing as China’s sole legal authority since 1979. They also sell state-of the-art weapons and support Taipei’s push for sovereignity, much to the dismay of Chinese authorities.