China maintains military exercises near Taiwan’s vicinity

According to Beijing, China conducted new military exercises surrounding Taiwan on Monday, defying calls for it to cease its largest-ever operations encircling the democratic island in the aftermath of Nancy Pelosi’s visit.

Beijing has been enraged by Pelosi’s journey to Taiwan, as she is the highest-ranking elected US politician to visit Taiwan in decades, ripping up a series of negotiations and cooperation agreements with the United States, particularly on climate change and defense.

Analysts have interpreted China’s deployment of fighter jets, warships, and ballistic missiles as preparation for a siege and eventual invasion of the self-governed island that China claims as its territory. These drills were due to conclude on Sunday, but neither Beijing nor Taipei have verified their conclusion. Taiwan’s transport ministry, however, has seen evidence indicating at least a partial pullback.

On Monday, China reported that the exercises were ongoing, stating that “the eastern theatre of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army continued to conduct joint exercises and training in the sea and airspace surrounding Taiwan island.”

According to the Eastern Command of the Chinese military, the exercises “focused on coordinating joint anti-submarine and sea assault operations.”

On Monday, Beijing will also conduct live-fire exercises in portions of the South China Sea and the Yellow Sea.

Taipei defiant

Taiwan has remained defiant throughout Beijing’s days-long exercises and will launch its live-fire operations on Tuesday.

Premier of Taiwan Su Tseng-chang stated that China was using “barbaric military activity” to disturb the peace in the Taiwan Strait.

“We call on the Chinese government to refrain from flaunting its military might, flexing its muscles everywhere, and endangering regional peace,” he told reporters on Sunday.

The foreign ministry of Taiwan stated that the exercises threatened “the region and even the world.”

The Chinese military published a video of an air force pilot shooting the island’s shoreline and mountains from his cockpit to demonstrate its proximity to Taiwan.

The Eastern Command also published a photograph allegedly depicting a patrolling cruiser with Taiwan’s coastline visible in the backdrop.

According to Chinese media, ballistic missiles were also launched over Taiwan’s capital during the last week’s exercises.

In the United States and other democracies, the scale and intensity of China’s drills and Beijing’s withdrawal from significant climate and defense discussions have sparked alarm.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the United States is “committed to behaving responsibly” to prevent a severe global crisis.

And according to experts, the exercises have shown an increasingly confident Chinese military capable of imposing a punishing blockade on the island and preventing US forces from coming to its help.

Grant Newsham, a researcher at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies and a former US Navy officer, told AFP, referring to China’s force by its official name, that the People’s Liberation Army could surpass American capabilities in specific sectors.

If the battle is confined to the area immediately surrounding Taiwan, the Chinese navy is a serious opponent, and if the United States and Japan do not participate, Taiwan will be in a terrible position.