China continued its large-scale maneuvers around democratic Taiwan on Saturday. Taiwan's Foreign Minister Jason Wu condemned "this dangerous military escalation in the military threat that is destroying peace and stability in the region." The US criticized the Chinese reaction to the visit of US leader Nancy Pelosi as "irresponsible". The fact that China had even suspended the dialogue with the USA on climate protection met with international shakes.
Chinese military planes, drones and warships continued to test Taiwan's armed forces. On the previous day alone, the Chinese People's Liberation Army had sent a "record number" of 68 military machines and 13 naval ships into waters near the democratic island republic, as reported by the Foreign Ministry in Taipei. Many of them also crossed the unofficial but so far most respected center line of the Taiwan Strait Straits separating the mainland and Taiwan.
Warning to Tokyo
During the maneuvers, China also launched 11 ballistic missiles in the direction of Taiwan, one of which, according to reports, even flew directly over Taiwan and not far from the capital Taipei for the first time. Five landed east of Taiwan in nearby Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which was also taken as a warning to Tokyo to stay out of the conflict.
China had launched the maneuvers announced by Sunday in response to the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. It was the highest-ranking visit from the United States in a quarter of a century. China is angry because it claims Taiwan as its own. It sees the island as part of the People's Republic and vehemently rejects official contacts with other countries. However, the island has long seen itself as independent.
Taiwan's military said late Friday a second time Chinese drones were spotted near the offshore island of Kinmen, just 10 kilometers from the port city of Xiamen on China's coast. On the Taiwanese island of Matsu, which is also offshore, the army launched flares as a warning when an unidentified flying object was discovered.
Dialogue with USA suspended
The military exercises aim at a sea and air blockade and serve to prepare for a possible invasion. As a further reaction, China suspended dialogue with the US on climate protection and through various military channels. Cooperation such as in the fight against crime, drugs and the repatriation of people who have entered the country illegally have been completely eliminated. Additionally, Beijing imposed unspecified sanctions on Pelosi and even immediate family members. China's leadership accuses her of "seriously interfering in internal affairs".
The US government spoke of an "overreaction by the Chinese". The communications director of the National Security Council, John Kirby, showed a lack of understanding, among other things, that the Chinese had stopped the dialogue on climate protection with the USA. "They think they are punishing us by closing this channel. In reality, they are punishing the whole world because the climate crisis knows no geographical borders."
The fact that China has cut certain communication channels between the military of the two countries increases the risk of misjudgments, especially in view of the "provocative military exercises". The US does not want a crisis with China and there is no reason for such a crisis, Kirby said. The US government also made this clear to China's ambassador in Washington at a meeting.