House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her delegation have defied President Biden’s counsel, Chinese warnings, and sound reason and are now stirring already troubled South Pacific waters. Following Pelosi’s landing in Taiwan Monday evening (U.S. time), the CRP military encircled the island, closed shipping lanes and airspace and began conducting live fire drills in the area.
Furious that Pelosi ignored warnings regarding including Taiwan in a South Pacific tour, Chinese state-owned media outlet, Xinhua, issued an announcement noting the military (People’s Liberation Army) would be conducting live fire exercises in six separate spaces on all sides of the island.
The outlet reported that aircraft and maritime vessels are “prohibited” from entering the six regions, effectively cutting off the nation from imports and travel.
Tension is rising in the Pacific theater as Chinese and American militaries increase assets in the region. America’s USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier group is reportedly conducting freedom of navigation patrols in the area.
Taiwan has reported multiple incursions of Chinese aircraft into its airspace in recent weeks — including once shortly after Pelosi’s arrival in Taipei. Pelosi landed on a dark runway as air raid sirens blared in the city, and the nation moved to its highest security threat level.
China has strong designs on Taiwan, which threatens the nation’s independence and freedoms. China’s foreign ministry depicted Pelosi’s stop in Taiwan as a “serious violation” of China’s One China Policy and warned the United States was going down a “wrong and dangerous path.”
U.S. leadership maintains U.S. dignitaries have visited Taiwan in the past and that it is not seeking any changes, alleging China has been acting provocatively.
“It is commonplace for the Speaker to travel aboard a U.S. military transport aircraft,” said White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby during a press briefing on Aug. 1. “That’s very typical.”
Rebuffing comments that Pelosi should not have pressed on with her trip after President Biden expressed his opposition, The Epoch Times reports White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby saying, “We have been clear from the very beginning that she [Pelosi] will make her own decisions and that Congress is an independent branch of government.”
Kirby continued: “We will not take the bait or engage in saber rattling. At the same time, we will not be intimidated. We will keep operating in the seas and skies of the western Pacific as we have for decades.”
Arguing that China is aware that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan does not represent a meaningful change in U.S. policy, Kirby said:
“This is well known to the PRC [People’s Republic of China], given our more than four decades of diplomatic relations. The speaker has the right to visit Taiwan, and a speaker of the House has visited Taiwan before without incident, as have many members of Congress, including this year.”
The White House is condemning China’s live drill exercises, describing such efforts as destabilizing.
Ely Ratner, assistant secretary of defense for Indo–Pacific affairs, warned, “If the PLA continues this kind of behavior, it is only a matter of time until there is a major incident or accident in the region.”