Okay, China is being slightly petty at this point.
As some readers might already be aware, in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China decided to launch military drills both in air and at sea in six areas surrounding the island from early Wednesday to Sunday.
To know more about why her visit is such a big hoo-ha, watch this to the end:
More Military Drills
Apparently, China must have felt like its message wasn’t loud or threatening enough because they decided to conduct more anti-submarine and sea assault operations, according to China’s Eastern Theatre Command.
This confirms the fears of many analysts and diplomats who predicted that Beijing would continue to put pressure on Taiwan’s defence.
The duration and precise location of the newest drills haven’t been declared yet, but it will undoubtedly be as disruptive as the last.
This comes after the firing of 11 short-range ballistic missiles and a couple dozen of extensive manoeuvrings by Chinese warships, fighter jets and drones near the self-ruled island over the course of four days.
Taiwan has already eased the flight restrictions near the six Chinese drill areas near the island, but it’s probably going to change again soon.
Is this a continuation of the “just and necessary” drills after Nancy Pelosi’s infuriating visit, or is there more to it?
Well, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is putting up a remarkable front when she met St. Vincent and Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves today (8 Aug), telling him that she was moved by his determination to visit even in the face of China’s military pressure.
During the welcome ceremony for Ms Gonsalves in Taipei, Ms Tsai quoted Mr Gonsalves, saying that the Chinese military drills wouldn’t deter him from visiting friends in Taiwan.
It’s unknown if Ms Tsai invited Mr Gonsalves before or after Pelosi’s visit.
In response to Reuters’ inquiries, the Taiwanese foreign ministry said that the internal planning or communications between governments are meant to be confidential.
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Straining Diplomatic Relations Between US and China
Predictably, diplomatic correspondences between the US and China have plummeted in a dramatic manner.
Military talks between the two global powerhouses have been shelved, said the Chinese defence ministry in protest of Pelosi’s visit.
The defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian wrote in an online post, “The current tense situation in Taiwan Strait is entirely provoked and created by the US side on its own initiative, and the US side must bear full responsibility and serious consequences for this.”
It looks like Taiwan is suffering more, what with the military drills and economic sanctions.
Mr Wu added that communication is premised on sincerity and the bottom line cannot be broken.
On Friday (5 Aug), China called off the discussions regarding theatre-level commands, defence policy coordination and military maritime consultations.
None too pleased, the Pentagon, State Department and White House officials criticised the move, stating that this is an irresponsible over-reaction.
In the eyes of security analysts and diplomats, this is worrisome as the US and China cannot afford to sever the few communications links they have, as it might risk an accidental escalation over Taiwan at a critical moment.
This is the opposite of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, whereby communications broke down instead of being established while tensions continue to mount.
Escalation? No, thy name is Mutually Assured Destruction, with Taiwan acting as the bull’s eye.
According to one US official, he observed that Chinese officials have yet to answer any calls from senior Pentagon officials.
However, it is believed that this isn’t a former severing of ties. It seems too early to jump to that conclusion.
(Maybe it’s just a temper tantrum.)
When Mr Wu was asked about these reports, he replied that China’s countermeasures are a “necessary warning” to the provocations from the US and Taiwan, and is a “legitimate defence of national sovereignty and security.”
Yeah, okay, China is definitely mad.
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