- Asia Nancy Pelosi arrives in Taiwan and China threatens “selective military action”
On Weibo, the Chinese brother of Twitter, 16 million people followed the live broadcast of the landing on Tuesday evening. Nancy Pelosi In Taiwan. The platform’s latest cover that reached this audience also featured a woman on a plane arriving in Mandarin territory: Meng Wanzhouchief financial officer of Huawei, arrived at Shenzhen airport on September 25, 2021 after spending three years under house arrest in Canada at the request of the United States.
The reaction on Chinese networks to the two events could not have been more disparate. Meng was the heroine heading home, while Pelosi was the villain who sought to goad China into unleashing all of its artillery on Taiwan long before what was expected in Beijing’s halls of power.
An invasion – they call it the reunification of the Asian giant – that would be highly celebrated by that growing mass of nationalist netizens who applaud every warmongering message from their leaders.
There are many Chinese people whose international politics slips to the subject of Taiwan, their Taiwan, the breakaway island, seen as one more province that must be under the full control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) despite a healthy and young democracy, in addition to effective government propaganda that has been playing on fear of this upstairs attack for years, causing growing friction between Taiwanese and Chinese. On both sides of the strait, politicians recite their version of the classic Pierre and the Wolf. But right now, the Chinese wolf is fiercer and more angry than ever.
Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, an 82-year-old veteran Democrat and an elderly woman known in China for her attacks on the regime led by Xi Jinping, sold her time in Taiwan as a trip to defend democracy and democracy freedom. Although many international analysts question if his trip has any meaning other than the anger of Beijing and provoke a fourth crisis in the Taiwan Strait, led by the two current world superpowers.
Pelosi met on Tuesday morning with the Taiwanese leader, Tsai Ing-wenof a pro-independence nature, who has held the position of president since 2016 and who has always opposed the old proposal of the neighbor upstairs: the formula “one country, two systems”, the format that was established in Hong Kong, that the island would have significant autonomy if it accepted reunification, even if it would be subject to the yoke of the Chinese regime as happened in the former British colony.
“In the face of growing and deliberate military threats, Taiwan will not back down… We will maintain the line of defense of democracyTsai said after his meeting with Pelosi, who reiterated to the Taiwanese leader the US commitment to Taiwan’s security.
“Our delegation has come to say unequivocally that we will not abandon Taiwan and we are proud of our enduring friendship,” said Pelosi, the highest ranking American politician to set foot in Taiwan since his Republican predecessor. Newt GingrichI did it in 1997.
The Democrat, faced with severe warnings from Beijing for “violation of its sovereignty”, wanted to recall the day before that her trip “in no way contradicts the long-standing policy of the United States, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 ” . But in the midst of a new cold war between the two superpowers, in China are convinced that Washington is moving in the direction of breaking its traditional ambiguous positionunder which it maintains relations with Taiwan while recognizing Beijing’s position: there is only one Chinese government in the entire Mandarin-speaking territory.
In conversations with this newspaper, two officials from the Taiwan Ministry of Defense assure that Taiwanese citizens are calm and that Wednesday was a normal day despite the fact that the Chinese army “threatens to be ready to attack us”. They assure that the alert levels have increased and that, as President Tsai also said, these days the defenses of the island will be reinforced.
When questioning the other protagonist of the crisis, Chinese Foreign Ministry sources follow the official response line. “The United States interfered with Taiwan’s sovereignty and clearly violated the one-China principle. We have been warning Washington for weeks not to cross that line and they have chosen to defy all Chinese people. Our responses will be in line with your provocation,” a Beijing official replied.
China has spent years trying to diplomatically isolate the self-governing island, drawing investments to buy the friendship of smaller nations around the world that have defended Taiwan’s sovereignty. Only 14 countries remain that have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. And among them there is no first world sword, not even the United States, its main international promoter and arms supplier.
Still, Beijing residents understood Pelosi’s trip as direct support for Taiwan independence. And that, in the language used within the Chinese dictatorship, means crossing a red line that deserves an unprecedented armed response during the previous crisis of 1996.
Pelosi landed in Taipei despite repeated warnings from Beijing that his visit could trigger an unprecedented crisis in the Taiwan Strait. to the point of triggering a military conflict. Just as the US plane was landing escorted by Taiwanese fighters, Chinese state media reported that a Chinese Su-35 fighter jet had crossed the median line dividing the strait for 20 minutes.
Almost at dawn, the Chinese Ministry of Defense assured that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would launch “a series of military operations aimed at countering Pelosi’s visit to the island of Taiwan and resolutely defending the national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
These operations consist of combat simulations using live fire at six different locations in Taiwan. The simulated attacks began at dawn.
“Joint naval and air force exercises are being conducted along the island’s coastline and airspace in the north, southwest and southeast,” a Chinese military spokesman said. . The response consisted of long-range artillery fire, as well as missile firing tests in the waters east of the island. The PLA also surrounded the island by flying over J-20 fighters.
“This action is a solemn deterrent against the recent escalation of negative actions by the United States on the Taiwan issue, and a serious warning to Taiwanese forces seeking independence,” the colonel said. Shiyispokesman for the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command, the section of the Chinese military that oversees the Taiwan Strait, which has designated six no-entry zones around the island for civilian ships and planes, warning that she could perform “exercises”. on real fire” until next Sunday.
“The island of Taiwan will be surrounded by exercises in various directions. The joint sea and air exercises in the north, southwest and southeast are likely to hone the capabilities of aircraft and warships to acquire the air superiority and control of the sea,” he explained. . a newspaper publication world timesone of the Chinese government’s propaganda organs published in English.
“Long-range live fire in the Taiwan Strait is probably They will have multiple rocket launchers capable of hitting targets on the island of Taiwan directly from the mainland.; conventional missile test launches in the east of the island mean that if the missiles were launched from the mainland, they would fly over Taiwan,” he continued.
“China’s planned military exercises, some of which are within 12 nautical miles of Taiwan, violated United Nations regulations, invaded our territorial space and amounted to a blockade of its air and sea,” reads- on in a memo released by the island’s defense ministry, condemning Beijing for “hosting war games” around the island, saying it would only sabotage peace and stability in the region.
“Such a decision will not help China’s international image, but it will also hurt the feelings of people on both sides of the strait,” the defense spokesman said. Sun Li Fang.
On Wednesday morning, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang YiHe insisted that Pelosi’s visit “maliciously violated China’s sovereignty” and that the United States was once again showing that it was the “greatest destroyer of regional peace and stability”. Wang issued a warning to his rival: “Those who offend China will be punished.”
also pronounced Ma Xiao GuangBeijing Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson: “We warn Tsai Ing-wen that colluding with outside forces to carry out provocations for independence for personal and party gain will only hasten his own destruction and push Taiwan into the abyss of disaster”.
Another notable military move by Beijing was to send 21 fighter jets to Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday, which has reported so far this year. nearly 500 raids on his ADIZ, which does not concern its airspace, but an area outside the territory of the country, but where foreign aircraft identify themselves to be monitored. The Chinese don’t.
Taiwan’s ADIZ covers parts of mainland China, but authorities on the island only report incursions after planes cross their side of the median line dividing the strait. Last year there were a record 969 raids, more than double the 380 in 2020.
In addition to military exercises around the island, Beijing announced economic sanctions on Taiwanese agricultural products and imports of natural sand as part of an initial set of trade restrictions – China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner. , with two-way trade of $328.3 billion last year – in response to Pelosi’s controversial trip.
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