China Encircles Taiwan With Massive Military Drills

Tensions soar after Pelosi departs island
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2022 6:21 AM CDT
China Holds Biggest-Ever Military Drills Near Taiwan
Taiwanese military vessels are seen in Keelung Harbor in Taiwan, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Taiwan has put its military on alert and staged civil defense drills.   (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

(Newser) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has departed Taiwan—and China has launched what are believed to be its biggest-ever military drills around the island, which it has long vowed to reunify with the mainland, by force if necessary. For the first time since 1996, China has fired missiles into waters around Taiwan, reports Reuters. The drills, which China says will last from Thursday to Sunday, are taking place in six zones around the island, some of them stretching into Taiwan's territorial waters, encircling the island and disrupting shipping in what experts describe as a temporary blockade, the Wall Street Journal reports. More:

  • Taiwan says China "imitated North Korea." Taiwan's foreign ministry strongly condemned China's actions, accusing the country of imitating North Korea with its missile launches, the Guardian reports. The ministry urged the international community to join the condemnation and support Taiwan's democratic government.
  • "Precision strikes." China, which had warned of "serious consequences" if Pelosi went to Taiwan, said it carried out precision strikes in exercises involving its air force, navy, and other service branches, the AP reports. "Long-range armed live fire precision missile strikes were carried out on selected targets in the eastern area of the Taiwan Strait," the People's Liberation Army said in a statement. "The expected outcome was achieved."

  • A trial run for invasion? Analysts—including Major Gen. Meng Xiangqing, a professor of strategy at the PLA's National Defense University in Beijing who was interviewed on state TV—see the exercises as a trial run for a longer blockade and possible invasion, the New York Times reports. "Under the guise of signaling, they’re trying to basically test their ability to conduct complex maneuvers that are necessary for an amphibious assault on Taiwan," says Oriona Skylar Mastro at Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Meng said the encirclement "creates very good conditions for reshaping the strategic situation in a way that benefits unification."
  • China says it's an internal affair. China rejected accusations of violating international law, saying its dealings with Taiwan are an internal affair. "Our punishment of pro-Taiwan independence diehards, external forces is reasonable, lawful," China's Beijing-based Taiwan Affairs Office said, per Reuters.

  • No comment from US military. The US military hasn't publicly commented on the drills, and CNN says it received no answers to its questions Thursday. The Navy has said the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier is operating as part of "normal scheduled operations" east of Taiwan, per the AP.
  • Shipping disrupted. The drills have forced ships using the Taiwan Strait, one of the world's busiest waterways, to reroute, which will add to the global disruption of supply chains, the BBC reports. More than 50 international flights to and from Taiwan were canceled Thursday because of the drills.
  • In China, some wanted more. Social media users in China who applauded Beijing's tough rhetoric ahead of Pelosi's visit said they were disappointed her plane hadn't been shot down or blocked from landing, reports the New York Times. Before censors shut down the comments section on a WeChat video of a military exercise, commenters accused Beijing of being "cowardly in foreign affairs," and a few people said they wanted to quit the Communist Party out of shame.
(Read more Taiwan stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.

X