China is pushing ahead with huge military drills near the island of Taiwan, flying drones which are close to the coast of Japan and conducting naval operations in reply to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s historic visit to the region, which was conducted on August 3.
Taiwan has operated independently of the People’s Republic of China since 1945. China contests Taiwan’s political independence from China, claiming it as part of its territory.
Back in 1971, Taiwan lost its representation in the U.N. as several nations moved to accept the “One-China” policy, including the U.S. But, the United States still maintains unofficial diplomatic ties with Taiwan and provides the island with weapons to deter any potential Chinese invasion. Unlike mainland China, Taiwan has a functional democracy.
China has been vowing to “reunify” China for decades, however, recently messaging in Chinese state-controlled media suggests that China is soon planning to take the island back by force. Chinese authorities had warned Pelosi not to visit Taiwan under the threat of military escalation.
Despite Chinese threats, Nancy Pelosi recently concluded her visit to the region, provoking a wave of angry reactions from China’s leadership.
The PRC is now conducting massive military drills around the island as a show of force. Long-range rocket drills, which Taiwan accused of being inspired by North Korea’s missile tests, forced cancellations of flights in and out of Taiwan and put the Republic of China (Taiwanese) military into a state of preparedness for military action.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said that the Chinese have been conducting “provocative” actions across the median line between Taiwan and mainland china. The two authorities had largely respected this informal demarcated maritime border.
In response to the visit, Chinese authorities have placed sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family, as well as suspending cooperation with the U.S. on several policy areas, including climate change.
Meanwhile, the foreign minister of Taiwan, puts the blame on China of ‘expansionism’ and alerted that China’s territorial ambitions stretched far beyond Taiwan. “Look at their behaviour over Hong Kong, or claiming the East China Sea and the South China Sea. It is the typical expansionism of an authoritarian state.”
The United States has opposed this expansionism and its claims on foreign territory. China has established what it calls a “nine-dash line” of naval claims in the South China Sea, claiming sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly islands and contesting maritime claims with Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, and the Philippines.