China holds military drills around Taiwan as Pelosi visits

i24NEWS - Reuters

3 min read
A mural painted on a wall on Taiwan's Kinmen islands, which lie two miles from the mainland China coast in the Taiwan Strait, on October 21, 2020.
SAM YEH / AFPA mural painted on a wall on Taiwan's Kinmen islands, which lie two miles from the mainland China coast in the Taiwan Strait, on October 21, 2020.

Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan 'has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations'

China strongly condemned the highest-level US visit to Taiwan in 25 years as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed the self-ruled island as “one of the freest societies in the world” on Wednesday in Taipei.

Beijing demonstrated its anger over Pelosi’s visit with a burst of military activity in the surrounding waters, and by summoning the US envoy to China, and announcing the suspension of several agricultural imports from Taiwan.

Pelosi arrived in Taipei on Tuesday on an unannounced but closely watched trip – as part of her Asian tour this week – saying that it shows unwavering US commitment to the island’s democracy.

Now more than ever, America’s solidarity with Taiwan is crucial, Pelosi told Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, adding that Washington’s determination to preserve democracy there and the rest of the world remains iron-clad.

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Shortly after Pelosi’s arrival, China’s military announced joint air and sea drills near Taiwan and test launches of conventional missiles in the sea east of Taiwan.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua described live-fire drills and other exercises around Taiwan from Thursday to Sunday.

China’s Foreign Ministry said Pelosi’s visit seriously damaged peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, “has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday the Chinese military drills violated United Nations rules, invaded Taiwan’s territorial space, and amounted to a blockade of its air and sea.

The ministry added that the island would defend its security and counter any move that violates territorial sovereignty. 

Japan called China’s military exercises “concerning,” and reiterated that Tokyo hopes issues over the Taiwan Strait will be resolved through dialogue.

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