China to hold live ammunition military drills around Taiwan during Pelosi’s visit

An announcement from the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command said that starting Tuesday evening, a series of drills would be held on the sea and in the air around Taiwan, the self-governing island that China said is its sovereign territory.

“This action is a solemn deterrent against the recent major escalation of negative actions by the United States on the Taiwan issue, and a serious warning to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces who seek ‘independence’,” the official said. col. Shi Yi, spokesperson for the Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement.

The Eastern Theater is one of the five joint commands of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) which has jurisdiction over the eastern coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, located across from and above Taiwan.

China’s Defense Ministry said the PLA is “on high alert and will launch a series of targeted military operations to counter the situation, resolutely uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely thwart the interference from outside forces and secessionist “Taiwan independence” plans.

In an unusual move, Chinese state media posted a map on Twitter showing six areas around Taiwan where it said the PLA would conduct drills, including live-fire drills from Thursday to Sunday.

The announcements came after a US Air Force plane carrying Pelosi landed in Taiwan’s capital Taipei, marking the first time a US House speaker has visited Taiwan in 25 years.

China did not specify what the drills would involve or which units would be involved.

The PLA has been active with exercises throughout the region in the days leading up to Pelosi’s visit. It usually holds drills at this time of year to mark Army Day, the founding of the PLA.

What you need to know about Pelosi's visit to Taiwan

Pelosi and the accompanying congressional delegation said in a statement that the visit “honours America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.”

“Our discussions with Taiwan’s leaders will focus on reaffirming our support for our partner and promoting our common interests, including promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” the statement said.

The House Speaker wrote an op-ed that was published in the Washington Post after she landed, saying her trip demonstrated US engagement in Taiwan under threat from China. “In the face of accelerating aggression by the Chinese Communist Party, our delegation’s visit to Congress should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it stand up for herself and her freedom,” Pelosi wrote.

The United States provides Taiwan with defensive weapons under the decades-old Taiwan Relations Act, but it remains deliberately vague on whether it would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion – a policy known as “strategic ambiguity”.

Chinese Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang told CNN’s John King that Beijing has a sovereign right to take action regarding Pelosi’s visit.

“China has every right to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are fully justified in doing what we must. The current situation is created solely by the American side, so of course it must bear the responsibilities,” he said. Qin.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said 21 Chinese fighter jets made incursions into its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday, the day Pelosi arrived.

The incursions were carried out by 10 J-16 fighter jets, 8 J-11 fighter jets, one Y-9 electronic warfare aircraft, one Y-8 electronic intelligence aircraft and one airborne early warning and control aircraft KJ-500, Taiwan Defense. the ministry said in a statement late Tuesday.

In response, the Taiwanese military issued radio warnings and deployed air defense missile systems to monitor activities, he added.

China frequently sends fighter jets into Taiwan’s self-proclaimed ADIZ. The highest number of incursions ever recorded took place on October 4 last year, when 56 military aircraft flew over the region on the same day.

An ADIZ is unilaterally imposed and separate from sovereign airspace, which is defined under international law as extending 12 nautical miles from a territory’s coastline.