The United States and Taiwan have accused China of an "irresponsible" escalation of tensions around the democratic island republic and called for restraint. Beijing, for its part, protested sharply against criticism from the G7 group of major industrial nations together with the European Union. For Germany, which currently holds the G7 presidency, further trouble is in store: the human rights committee of the Bundestag is planning a trip to Taiwan for the end of October, as the German Press Agency learned from several members of parliament.
China threatens to conquer Taiwan
The communist leadership refuses such official contacts with Taiwan because they claim the island for themselves. Beijing sees self-governing Taiwan as part of the People's Republic and threatens to conquer it. The 23 million Taiwanese, on the other hand, see themselves as independent. In response to the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, China launched large-scale maneuvers on Tuesday. It was the highest-ranking visit from the United States in a quarter of a century.
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen called the maneuvers and missile exercises "irresponsible". In a video address, the President urged the Chinese leadership to exercise common sense and exercise restraint. Taiwan will not escalate tensions but wants to maintain the status quo.
The President thanked the G7 group of the seven leading industrial nations, which includes the European Union, for their support. The G7 had expressed concern and stressed that there was no reason to use a visit as a pretext "for aggressive military activities". In Beijing, ambassadors of EU countries and EU representatives were summoned to the Foreign Ministry, where they were handed a formal protest against the G7 statement.
German delegation plans trip in October
Further upsets are expected from the long-planned visit of the Human Rights Committee of the Bundestag to Taiwan. The trip is scheduled to take place between October 22nd and 30th and, in addition to Taiwan, will also go to Japan and the Chinese special administrative region of Hong Kong, as dpa learned from MPs. MEPs from all six parliamentary groups are expected to take part in the trip.
China's protests would not be a reason for the CDU politician Michael Brand to refrain from the trip. China's leadership must be careful not to become "just a threat-spewing dragon." Despite all the threatening gestures, the democracies of this world will not be left in the lurch - on the contrary: "If we take ourselves seriously, then we must finally take China seriously and reject the threat."
US speaks of Chinese overreaction
The US government accused China of overreacting and "significant escalation" after Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. China has launched an estimated 11 ballistic missiles toward Taiwan, National Security Council communications director John Kirby said in Washington. It was irresponsible on the part of Beijing to have used the visit as an excuse to step up its "provocative military activities".
The maneuvers in six sea areas around the island, which will run until Sunday, aim at a naval and air blockade and serve to prepare for a possible invasion. It is China's largest demonstration of power in decades. Taiwan's military did not want to confirm Japanese reports that rockets had also flown over the island. Japan protested that five missiles fell in Japan's nearby Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Live ammunition maneuvers
During the maneuvers, China had launched eleven "Dongfeng" (East Wind) rockets, according to Taiwan's military. In addition, 22 Chinese aircraft, including fighter jets, entered Taiwan's air surveillance zone (ADIZ) on Thursday alone. China's People's Liberation Army called the practiced "precision strikes" with the missiles a complete success and lifted warnings about the target practice for sea and air transport while the maneuvers continued.
Japan and the US want to work closely together in the face of the conflict over Taiwan. It is important to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and US leader Pelosi at a meeting in Tokyo on Friday. At the end of her trip to Asia, Pelosi had arrived in Tokyo the evening before. She had previously held talks in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.