China and the United States both deployed military forces to the region around Taiwan on August 1 following Chinese threats of a military attack in response to a proposed visit to Taiwan by the Speaker of the House of Commons. United States, Nancy Pelosi (D-California).
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has announced through state media that it will deploy forces for live-fire drills in the waters north of Taiwan between mainland China and South Korea. These drills are the latest in a series of consecutive Chinese drills in the region. However, they are notable in that the announcement was accompanied by images of China’s DF-17 hypersonic missile.
Nicknamed the “carrier killer,” the DF-17 is a nuclear-capable ballistic missile equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle that allows its payload to glide into low orbit at high speed before plunging onto its target. The images released this week mark the first time a live-fire recording of the weapon has been released.
The United States announced that it was moving a carrier strike group and air support closer to Taiwan. The USS Ronald Reagan is usually stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, and is returning to the South China Sea after making a five-day stopover in Singapore last week.
Pelosi visits Taiwan
Pelosi is currently touring Indo-Pacific countries including Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. However, what made the trip remarkable was his plan to visit Taiwan, which has been the target of the CCP’s military harassment and intimidation for years.
Taiwanese media reported that unidentified Taiwanese officials have confirmed that Pelosi is scheduled to stop in Taiwan on August 2 or 3.
The Chinese regime said on August 1 that its military “would not sit idly by” if Pelosi were to visit the island. Previously, the CCP had also threatened “strong action” against the United States and Taiwan if Pelosi surrendered. Just a day after the threat, US President Joe Biden said the military believed the trip was “not a good idea”.
Analysis of the sentence did not reveal whether Biden himself thought it was a bad idea for Pelosi to travel to Taiwan based on military intelligence or if he was simply repeating the warnings given to him. by military leaders.
Pelosi then said Biden may have meant the military feared China would shoot down his plane.
Chinese state media has since said China should do just that.
“If American fighter jets escort Pelosi’s plane to Taiwan, it’s an invasion,” said Hu Xijin, former editor of the state-run newspaper Global Times. wrote on Twitter.
“[China’s military] has the right to forcibly chase Pelosi’s plane and American warplanes, including firing warning shots and performing tactical obstructionist movements. If they are ineffective, shoot them down.
The comment was later removed by Twitter for inciting violence.
The message was just the latest in increasingly belligerent and, at times, downright hostile rhetoric from the regime in Beijing, which security experts say betrays deep insecurity among Chinese leaders about the the CCP’s position on the world stage.
In a similar vein, Chinese Communist leader Xi Jinping told Biden in a July 28 phone call that the United States was “playing with fire” if it pursued relations with Taiwan. In another, China’s defense minister threatened to “start a war at all costs” to prevent the world from recognizing Taiwan’s independence.
US support solidifies around Pelosi
Despite the CCP’s continued saber-rattling, US leaders and public figures have come together in support of Pelosi and his visit to Taiwan. The White House has made it clear that it will in no way let Beijing’s intimidation affect the free movement of American elected officials.
“We shouldn’t be intimidated by this rhetoric or these potential actions,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in an interview with CNN. “This is an important trip for the President and we will do everything we can to support her.”
The CCP, which currently rules mainland China as a one-party state, maintains that Taiwan is a breakaway province. However, Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949 and has never been controlled by the CCP, having continuously maintained its de facto independence.
The United States does not have formal relations with Taiwan but is legally required to supply the island with self-defense weapons. Regarding the risk of a Chinese invasion of the island, the United States maintains a policy of so-called strategic ambiguity, in the sense that it does not publicly acknowledge whether it would defend Taiwan militarily.
To this end, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen pledged to defend Taiwan against Chinese communist aggression and to protect the island’s democratic way of life and thriving market economy.
Pelosi’s visit, despite CCP propaganda, is not at odds with US policy or the long-standing realities of unofficial US-Taiwan relations. Sitting members of Congress have already traveled to Taiwan to discuss a myriad of issues. A Senate delegation last visited Taiwan in July.
Foreign policy experts view the CCP’s hostile rhetoric as an attempt to influence US policy and behavior in a way that will benefit the CCP’s long-term ambitions.
“President Biden must give this visit his full support,” former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. wrote on Twitter. “Do not be weak and do not give in to the demands of petty warmongers and dictators in Beijing. Support the freedom-loving people of Taiwan.