China's Military Announces Live Fire Drills Surrounding Taiwan Following Pelosi Arrival

China's Military Announces Live Fire Drills Surrounding Taiwan Following Pelosi Arrival
A Ching Chiang class patrol ship fires off depth charges underwater as part of a navy demonstration in Taiwan's annual Han Kuang exercises off the island's eastern coast near the city of Yilan, Taiwan, on July 26, 2022. (Huizhong Wu, File/AP Photo)
Andrew Thornebrooke

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced that its military would conduct live fire exercises in the waters on all sides of Taiwan following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's arrival on the island.

Chinese state-owned outlet Xinhua issued an announcement from the CCP's military wing, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which said that it would be conducting live fire exercises in six separate spaces on all sides of the island.

Aircraft and maritime vessels would be "prohibited" from entering the six regions, a move that may be designed to interfere with international shipping lanes.

Both Chinese and American military assets have been maneuvering in the waters around Taiwan since last week, with PLA forces conducting other drills north of Taiwan in the Yellow Sea, and the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier conducting freedom of navigation patrols.
Taiwanese media reported that aircraft from the PLA crossed over the Taiwan Strait shortly after Pelosi's highly publicized arrival in Taipei on Tuesday, which the CCP has aggressively protested with threats of military action.

China's foreign ministry characterized the trip to Taiwan as a "serious violation" of China's One China Policy, and said the United States was going down a "wrong and dangerous path."

U.S. leadership maintains that it is in no way seeking to change the status quo and that the CCP is behaving aggressively and erratically.

"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," said White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby on Monday. "Our Constitution embeds a separation of powers."

"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."

Kirby also underscored that CCP leadership knew that the trip does not represent a meaningful change in U.S. policy.

"This is well known to the PRC [People's Republic of China], given our more than four decades of diplomatic relations," Kirby said. "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 use of aggressive rhetoric and live fire drills by China around Taiwan have been condemned by the White House, which described such efforts as destabilizing.

Ely Ratner, assistant secretary of defense for Indo–Pacific affairs, said on July 27 that such provocations would only serve to increase the likelihood of catastrophic accidents between the United States, China, and Taiwan.

"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," Ratner said.
Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.