China announces new military maneuvers around Taiwan amid heightened tensions with US
China’s Defense Ministry has announced new military drills in waters and airspace surrounding the self-ruled Chinese Taipei just a day after concluding its largest ever maneuvers to protest US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taipei.
China’s Eastern Theatre Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) announced on Monday that it would carry out joint exercises and training focusing on anti-submarine and sea assault operations – as anticipated by defense analysts and diplomats, who were cited in press reports as saying that Beijing would maintain pressure on Taiwan.
The duration and precise location of the latest drills remain unknown, however, amid reports that Taiwan has already eased flight restrictions near the six earlier Chinese exercise regions surrounding the breakaway island.
China is also set to begin on Monday live-fire maneuvers in parts of the South China Sea and the Yellow Sea, according to wire reports.
The new military maneuvers by Beijing further defied US-led calls to halt massive drills encircling Taiwan in wake of last week’s visit by Pelosi, who is the third in line to succeed the president in the American government.
The visit has infuriated China, which has repeatedly warned US officials against political visits and the sale of weapons to Taiwan in violation of Washington’s official 'One China' policy.
Beijing reacted strongly to Pelosi’s deliberately provocative trip with test launches of ballistic missiles over Taipei for the first time, as well as ditching some lines of dialogue with Washington.
The development came as China’s Defense Ministry defended its decision to suspend military talks with the US to protest Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, vowing “serious consequences” for Washington.
Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman Wu Qian said on Monday that the current tense situation in the Taiwan Strait is “entirely provoked” and created by the US side on its own initiative.