China begins major maneuvers around the island after Pelosi’s visit

There is the promised answer. The Chinese military will carry it out this Thursday The most important military exercises For decades around Taiwan, a muscular reaction US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit on the island.

Beijing will begin large-scale military exercises at the level of busy trade routes in several areas around the island of Taiwan starting Thursday afternoon (6:00 a.m. Paris time).

They included “training activities including live ammunition firing exercises,” according to state media. As a precautionary measure, the China Maritime Safety Administration has “banned” ships from entering the affected areas. The drills will take place in various areas around Taiwan – sometimes as far as 20 kilometers off Taiwan’s coast – and last until noon on Sunday.

“defense”

Officials on the island have condemned the plan, saying it threatens East Asian security. “Some of China’s maneuvering areas (…) encroach on Taiwan’s maritime territory,” Taiwan Defense Ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang said. “This is an irrational act aimed at challenging the international order,” he said.

“There is no justification for using a trip as an excuse for aggressive military operations in the Taiwan Strait”, the diplomatic leaders of the G7 (US, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Canada) rich countries assessed for their part. , UK) in a joint report. “Foreign travel is normal and a part of the routine of parliamentarians in our countries,” they added.

Beijing, for its part, says these exercises — as well as others, more limited, launched in recent days — are a “necessary and legitimate step” after Nancy Pelosi’s visit. “America is the instigator, China is the victim. China is on the defensive,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

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Beijing does not want “uncontrolled escalation”.

If the hypothesis of an invasion of Taiwan, home to 23 million people, is unlikely, it has increased since the election of current President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016. Tsai, from an independent party, refuses to recognize that the island and the mainland are part of “one China”, unlike the previous government.

Visits by foreign officials and members of parliament have increased in recent years, drawing Beijing’s ire. In response, President Xi Jinping’s China, which wants to avoid being embroiled in questions of sovereignty, is seeking to isolate Taiwan diplomatically and three months before the Chinese Communist Party congress, which should renew Xi Jinping. Third term. However, experts told AFP that China does not want the current situation to deteriorate.

“They are cautious and don’t want uncontrolled escalation,” Chong Za Ian, a security expert at the National University of Singapore, told AFP. “There are limits to what they’re willing to do.” Titus Chen, a political science professor at National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, said the last thing Xi Jinping wants is an “accidental war” caused by an incident before the CCP congress.

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