Taiwan holds drills amid Pelosi visit concern, China tension
BEIJING (AP) — Taiwan’s capital staged air raid drills Monday and its military mobilized for routine defense exercises, coinciding with concerns over a forceful Chinese response to a possible visit to the island by U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. While there was no direct link between China’s renewed threats and Taiwan’s defensive moves, they underscore the possibility of a renewed crisis in the Taiwan Strait, considered a potential hotspot for conflict that could envelop the entire region.
Taiwan's military dispatched fighter jets and air raid sirens sounded in its capital city of Taipei as drills preparing for an invasion of China overlapped with a potential visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the geopolitical fault line.
The self-governing island on Monday kicked off its Han Kuang military exercises, an annual five-day event simulating an invasion by China. While Taiwan's drills were previously planned, Pelosi's possible visit comes amid heightened tensions with Beijing and has drawn strong reactions in both the U.S. and China.
Xi, Biden to speak as possible Pelosi Taiwan visit looms
BEIJING (AP) — U.S. President Joe Biden is planning to speak with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time in four months, with a wide range of bilateral and international issues on the table. But a potential visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is looming over the conversation set for Thursday, with China warning of a severe response if she travels to the self-governing island democracy Beijing claims as its own territory.
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense ordered F-16V jets from Hualien Air Force Base to conduct emergency takeoffs to simulate a scenario where they'd have to defend the country's east coast, reports the Taipei Times. Additionally, the country's Navy and ground troops carried out readiness drills designed to resemble attacks by enemy planes or missiles.
Television station Focus Taiwan also captured video of air raid sirens blaring through mostly vacant city streets.
[video] Wanan air defense drill starts in northern Taiwan pic.twitter.com/RzrAOnyHYa
— Focus Taiwan (CNA English News) (@Focus_Taiwan) July 25, 2022
Reports emerged last week that Pelosi was planning to bring a congressional delegation to Taiwan, a democratically governed island that has long had the economic and military backing of the U.S. A visit by the California Democrat would mark the first serving House speaker to visit the island in 25 years. Republican Newt Gingrich visited in 1997.
Pelosi to Taiwan would be career capstone, despite warnings
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched her political career being tough on China -- a new congresswoman who dared to unfurl a pro-democracy banner in Beijing's Tiananmen Square during a 1991 visit with other U.S. lawmakers shortly after the student massacre. More than 30 years later, her interest in traveling to Taiwan presents a powerful diplomatic capstone. It has also contributed to tensions at the highest levels in Washington and Beijing among officials who worry a trip could prove provocative. As the U.S. balances its high-stakes relations with China, whether Pelosi will lead a delegation trip to Taiwan remains unknown.
Chinese officials have pledged to reclaim Taiwan, which they insist is a breakaway province. U.S. commitments to the island have come into focus amid saber-rattling in Beijing and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
But Pelosi's possible visit has not been embraced by the Biden administration, despite its stated aim of seeking to reduce China's influence.
Video: China Threatens ‘Forceful’ Action Should Speaker Pelosi Go Ahead With Taiwan Visit (Veuer)
"Well, I think that the military thinks it's not a good idea right now," President Joe Biden told reporters last week when asked about Pelosi's trip. "But I don't know what the status of it is."
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Associated Press in an interview published Sunday that the U.S. and its allies have seen more intercepts by Chinese aircraft and ships in the Pacific region, with a rise in unsafe interactions.
Why Speaker Pelosi must go to Taiwan
[This piece has been published in Restoring America to highlight why it is important for Speaker Pelosi to follow through on her commitment to visit Taiwan in order to project U.S. strength and resolve.] Beijing is warning of “serious consequences” and “firm and resolute measures” should House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), follow through with her plans to visit Taiwan.The Chinese Communist Party can’t help itself. Like so much of what China has done in the past 10 years or so, these pronouncements only help to bring about the thing that it’s trying to prevent. At this point, Pelosi must visit.
"The message is the Chinese military, in the air and at sea, have become significantly more and noticeably more aggressive in this particular region," said Milley.
Pelosi's visit has also drawn a stern reaction from Chinese officials, who've raised concern about what the trip would mean for the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijia reiterated those worries at a press conference Monday, according to Xinhua news agency.
"The Chinese side has repeatedly made clear to the U.S. side our serious concern over Pelosi's potential visit to Taiwan and our firm opposition to the visit," he said, adding, "We are fully prepared for any eventuality."
Meanwhile, Republican members of Congress have called on Pelosi to push ahead with the visit, saying that backing down would be a show of weakness. GOP Representative Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin and Congressman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania wrote in a letter to Pelosi that she should "reject the objections of China's rulers and President Biden," reported Focus Taiwan.
Pelosi confirms trip to Asia, but no mention of Taiwan
BEIJNG (AP) — The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, confirmed Sunday she will visit four Asian countries this week but made no mention of a possible stop in Taiwan that has riled Beijing, which claims the island democracy as its own territory. Pelosi said in a statement she is leading a congressional delegation to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan to discuss trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, security and “democratic governance.” Pelosi has yet to confirm news reports that she might visit Taiwan.
GOP Representative Mike Gallagher, also of Wisconsin, said Monday on a Fox News appearance that China is already trying to make the U.S. lose its will to defend Taiwan. He said federal law calls for increased interactions between leaders of Taiwan and the U.S.
"If we're too afraid to let that small thing happen, how are we ever going to expedite arms sales to Taiwan?" Gallagher said.
A spokesperson for Pelosi told Newsweek in an email, "We do not confirm or deny international travel in advance due to longstanding security protocols."
U.S. Downplays Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan Trip As China Escalates Warning Levels
Furious China Warns Nancy Pelosi Not to Visit Taiwan
China Warns That Nancy Pelosi Taiwan Visit Would Be 'Red Line' for Conflict
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Joe Biden To Make Most Important Call of Presidency to China's Xi Jinping .
The leaders of the two major powers will talk over existing frictions as well as new uncertainties thrown up by Nancy Pelosi's travel plans.The competitive nature of the contemporary relationship has left many fearing a mishap in Asia, one that could spark a wider conflict with global consequences. Crisis management between the two militaries therefore will be high on the agenda for the talks, their fifth in the last 18 months and the latest since March.