In response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) visit to the island, China has announced that its military is conducting a series of live-fire drills in multiple locations around Taiwan.
According to the Chinese state-run Global Times, a fleet of rocket launchers and fighter jets departed from the Chinese mainland just hours after Pelosi landed in Taipei on Tuesday evening.
The Global Times reported that from Thursday to Sunday China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would be conducting live-fire drills in six locations around Taiwan. State media also clarified that the exercises were not only “warnings” to the U.S., but also “rehearsals” for how China could hypothetically invade Taiwan in the future.
“The announced PLA drills, likely to be larger in scale than the one in the 1996 Taiwan Straits crisis, serve not only as warnings to the US and ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionists, but also as rehearsals for the PLA to reunify the island by force,” the Global Times reported.
#PLA drills could pose threat to major ports and shipping lanes in #Taiwan, forming a complete blockage. This blockage could be part of action plans for future reunification-by-force operations, Herman Shuai, a retired Taiwan lieutenant general, told GT https://t.co/gBk6ldMlvG pic.twitter.com/XRTTtSRRJe
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) August 3, 2022
When Pelosi touched down in Taiwan on Tuesday, she became the first Speaker of the House to visit the self-governing island since former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had in 1997. For weeks leading up the trip, China had warned that a visit to Taiwan — which it claims as part of its territory — would represent an attack against Chinese sovereignty.
Though Pelosi has now left the island in order to continue her trip across Asia, Chinese officials warn that the consequences of her visit will be ongoing.
“China will definitely take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity in response to the US Speaker’s visit,” Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “All the consequences must be borne by the US and ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”
In an interview with the Global Times, Chinese military official Song Zhongping said the exercises being conducted around Taiwan “will be directly translated into combat operations” in the event of a future conflict.
“It means that our battle plan has been made clear to the US and the Taiwan authorities, and we are confident enough to inform them of the consequences of further provocation in this way,” Song said.