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Chinese army surrounds Taiwan

The People's Liberation Army is reportedly conducting military manoeuvres around the island, which are expected to conclude on Monday
ejercicios militares-taiwan

PHOTO/FILE  -  

The recent visit of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taipei has provoked the anger of a China that has not ceased to warn Washington that its interference in Taiwan, a territory that China considers to be its own, could have very serious consequences.

Two days after Pelosi's visit, the island of Taiwan has been completely blockaded. By land, sea and air, China's arsenal has been deployed around Taiwan and has even carried out live-fire military exercises in the southwest and northwest waters of the Asian territory in an action that is already considered to be more than a declaration of intent.  

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TWITTER - Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan

All these moves are being televised and broadcast on the web. Aircraft such as J-20 fighters, H-6K bombers and the J-11 fighter jet star on Chinese television screens, along with Type 052D destroyers, Type 056A corvettes, DF-17 hypersonic missiles and DF-11 short-range ballistic missiles.

The warnings issued by China, threatening that "those who play with fire will get burned" have been staged in an unprecedented military deployment that aims to demonstrate the "muscle" of the Asian giant in a situation that pits the two geopolitical superpowers against each other in a scenario that is far from encouraging. Pelosi's visit, which lasted less than 24 hours, has been able to provoke an international earthquake, the consequences of which we cannot yet know. What is certain is that the world is going through a complex context, not only with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, now in its sixth month, but also with the escalation of tensions in the Asia-Pacific, an area of marked interest for Washington due to China's growing and unstoppable influence not only at the regional level but also at the global level. 

Hours after their departure, several Chinese drones headed towards the area of the Taipei-controlled Kinmen Islands, an action that the spokesman for the Eastern Theatre Command of the People's Liberation Army, Colonel Shi Yi, called a "deterrent action against the recent large escalation of negative US actions on the Taiwan issue, and a serious warning to Taiwanese forces seeking independence".  

Beijing has already announced that these exercises are part of the "reunification operation" aimed at making the autonomous island part of the Chinese government, even if China has to use military force to achieve this end. Beijing is not intimidated and wants to demonstrate this to the world, but above all to the United States, which has reiterated and defended on more than one occasion that, should China attack Taiwan, the United States will respond with force. 

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PHOTO/China MoD - With a range of more than 10,000 kilometres, the DongFeng-41 (East Wind) intercontinental ballistic missile was demonstrated in 2019 at the October 1 military parade commemorating the founding of the People's Republic of China

This situation puts security on a tightrope. As with Russia's warnings, China believes that the US has overstepped its bounds with Pelosi's visit to Taipei, making it the "highest-ranking" visit by a US official in more than 20 years.  The last crisis of a similar caliber was in 1996, when the Chinese military conducted military exercises and missile tests in the cross-strait area. However, the difference is that China's military power has multiplied to the point where the Chinese army is now the third most powerful army in the world, behind Russia and the United States.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese officials have indicated that China's new manoeuvres "violate the rules of the United Nations" as they "invade its territorial space and are a direct challenge to free air and maritime navigation".  They also reported that China is "conducting drills on the busiest international waterways and aviation routes", which is "irresponsible and illegitimate behaviour".  

Meanwhile, international condemnation has been swift. The G-7 Foreign Ministers together with the European Union have called on China not to use Pelosi's visit as a pretext to invade Taiwan. The United States has followed in the same footsteps. Although it does not officially recognise Taiwan's sovereignty, the US has always been in favour of supporting the island in the event of a Chinese attack. However, in Beijing's view, Washington has gone too far with Pelosi's visit, which has triggered the entire Chinese machinery into action in a situation that puts a new Cold War on the brink, which is getting closer and closer to breaking out.   

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.