China Taiwan News: China announces military exercise opposite Taiwan

China said it was conducting military exercises off the coast opposite Taiwan on Saturday after it warned US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi about possible plans to visit democracy on the island, which Beijing claims is part of its territory. to delete.

The military wing of the ruling Communist Party, the People’s Liberation Army, conducted “live fire drills” near the Pingtan Islands off Fujian Province from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., the official Xinhua News Agency said. The Maritime Safety Administration warned ships to avoid the area.

Such exercises usually involve artillery. The one-sentence announcement gave no indication as to whether Saturday’s exercise could also include missiles, combat aircraft or other weapons.

Pelosi, who would have been the highest-ranking American elected official to visit Taiwan since 1997, has yet to confirm whether she will go. President Xi Jinping warned his US counterpart, Joe Biden, in a phone call on Thursday about “external interference” in Beijing’s relations with the island.

China says Taiwan has no right to maintain foreign relations. It sees visits by US officials as an encouragement for the island to make its decades-old de facto independence official.

The Defense Department warned Washington this week not to allow Pelosi, who is Biden’s equal as leader of one of the three branches of the government, to visit Taiwan. A spokesman said the PLA would take unspecified “strong measures” to halt pro-independence activities.

The PLA has flown a growing number of fighter jets and bombers near Taiwan and has fired missiles at shipping lanes to the island in the past.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war that ended with a communist victory on the mainland.

The two governments say they are one country, but disagree on which country is entitled to national leadership. They have no official relationships, but are linked by billions of dollars in trade and investment.

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