China on Friday continued its most provocative military exercises in decades and broke off defense talks with the United States, as relations between the world’s largest economies sour following the trip by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan.
A day after it likely fired missiles at the island of 23 million people, China sent warships through the median line of the Taiwan Strait in the first such incursion in years. The People’s Liberation Army also sent fighter jets across the US-defined border, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said, marking the third straight day of such flights since Pelosi’s visit.
China’s Foreign Ministry announced unspecified sanctions against Pelosi and her immediate family for what it called an “egregious provocation.” Though largely symbolic, the move makes the House speaker the highest-ranking US official sanctioned by Beijing. The action was announced shortly after Pelosi left Japan after wrapping up her dramatic week-long trip.
In addition to halting defense talks with the US, China announced it would cancel a dialogue with military leaders and halt discussions on climate change, an area where the two nations had found common ground in recent years.
“China has chosen to overreact and use Speaker Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait,” the US secretary of state said. Antony Blinken, on Friday at a regional summit in Cambodia, accusing China of seeking to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. “There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalated military response.”
The Biden administration called Chinese ambassador Qin Gang to the White House on Thursday to condemn Beijing’s provocations across the Taiwan Strait, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
On Thursday, Beijing broke another precedent by firing four ballistic missiles at Taiwan and what Japan considers its exclusive economic zone, according to the Japanese Defense Ministry. While neither China nor Taiwan confirmed the flight paths, the PLA Eastern Theater Command shared a state media report with an expert that said the missiles flew over Taiwan. The Pentagon planned to keep the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and her strike group nearby to monitor the situation.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said late Friday that a total of 68 Chinese warplanes and 13 warships had been seen near the island as of 5:00 p.m., some of which had crossed the median line. Taipei’s military responded with radio warnings and air and sea patrols, he said.
President Xi Jinping has stepped up his years-long pressure campaign against Taiwan after Pelosi became the highest-ranking US official in a quarter-century to visit the island. The Chinese leader must appear strong as he defends the country’s territorial interests from foreign interference ahead of a Communist Party reshuffle in which he is expected to secure another five years in power.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying on Friday defended China’s response as “justified and necessary.” “This is a fight against hegemony, against interference and against secession,” Hua told a regular news conference in Beijing.
The Taiwan Maritime and Port Bureau on Thursday told ships to avoid designated areas around the island until August 8 in waters east of the island, suggesting that Taipei believed the drills could last a day longer. what Beijing initially announced.
In total, the PLA fired 11 missiles at military exercise areas set up around the island, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said. It also sent 22 fighter jets over the median line established by the US for the second day in a row on Thursday, the most since the island began releasing data in 2020.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told Pelosi in Tokyo on Friday that he strongly condemned China’s missile launches and that his government had urged Beijing to suspend its exercises. Pelosi said there was bipartisan support in both houses of Congress for maintaining the status quo in Taiwan.
“If we don’t defend human rights in China for commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak about human rights anywhere in the world,” Pelosi said.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.