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Flurry of Chinese military movements reported as Pelosi delegation reached Taipei

A U.S. military aircraft transporting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and here lands at Songshan Airport in Taipei on August 2.
by WorldTribune Staff, August 3, 2022

Chinese state-run media reported that Su-35 fighter jets were crossing the Taiwan Strait at around 10:20 p.m. local time (around 10:20 a.m. EST), about the same time U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's delegation landed in Taipei.

On the Chinese social media app Weibo, the state-run CCTV Military account also reported Chinese Su-35 fighter jets were crossing the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan's military disputed the Chinese claims, but did confirm that other Chinese warplanes were active in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan TVBS News reporter Tingting Liu tweeted, “BREAKING: [Taiwanese Ministry of Defense] spokesperson Li-Fang Sun just confirmed to me that ‘no Su-35 has crossed the Taiwan Strait’, but acknowledged that other types of PLA aircrafts did. The Defence Ministry is currently handling the situation.”

On Monday, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense reported four J-16 Chinese fighter jets flew into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

Pelosi became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island nation since then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich made the trip in 1997.

Pelosi also insisted that her visit to Taipei in "no way contradicts the long-standing one-China policy."

Chinese Communist Party state officials disagreed.

"This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués. It has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and seriously infringes upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement following the news that Pelosi's plane had landed in Taipei. "There is but one China in the world, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory, and the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China."

Communist Party officials in Beijing have issued repeated threats that China would respond with “strong” measures if Pelosi went through with her Taiwan visit.

Posts on the Chinese WeChat social media app also showed a column of Chinese armored fighting vehicles driving along a beach in Xiamen, which is just across the Taiwan Strait from Taiwan.
 

A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday that the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is operating in the Philippine Sea, east of Taiwan along with the with guided missile cruiser USS Antietam and destroyer USS Higgins.

The spokesperson emphasized these are routine and normal deployments and locations where the U.S. 7th fleet normally operates. The spokesperson confirmed that amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli is in the area as well.

Both the Southern and Eastern Theater Commands of the Chinese military began military drills on Tuesday, reports from the region confirmed.

Deng Xijun, the Chinese ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) tweeted: “According to Hainan Maritime Safety Administration, #China will hold MILITARY EXERCISES in the #SouthChinaSea from August 2-6. Entry will be prohibited.”

On the Chinese social media app Weibo, the state-run CCTV Military account reported “a number of speedboats from a missile speedboat brigade of the navy in the Eastern Theater Command formed a formation to conduct live-fire drills. The formation practiced subjects such as air defense, anti-reconnaissance, air and missile defense, long-range sea strikes, and damage control.”

The Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command’s area of responsibility covers the Taiwan Strait and the East China Sea, encapsulating the area north and east of Taiwan. The Chinese military’s Southern Theater Command covers the South China Sea, which is the sea region west of Taiwan.

On Monday Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the Chinese military was closely watching Pelosi’s travel. Zhao also said the will of the Chinese people “cannot be defied” and “those who play with fire will perish by it.”

Zhao added that the Chinese military “never sit idly by.”

Pelosi landed in Taipei in what she described as a visit that "honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy. America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy."

Pelosi was received at Taipei's Songshan airport by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and Sandra Oudkirk, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the U.S.'s de facto embassy on the island.

Taiwan infuriated Beijing after the tallest building in Taipei displayed an LED message thanking Pelosi for visiting.

A series of Chinese threats to shoot Pelosi's airplane down caused concern — as multiple web sites monitored her flight ahead of the landing.

Flight tracking website Flighttradar24 crashed after 300,000 people logged on to watch Pelosi's flight approach Taiwan — crippling the site's servers.

White House spokesman John Kirby said on Monday: "We're going to make sure that she has a safe and secure visit, because that's our responsibility. And we urge as I said at the outset, we urge China to see this — if she goes — to see this for exactly what it is: nothing new, no change to our policy, and certainly not an unprecedented visit by the Speaker of the House."

Pelosi is traveling with a House delegation that includes Democrat Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York, Mark Takano of California, Suzan DelBene of Washington, Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, and Andy Kim of New Jersey.

The U.S. government abides by a “One China” policy that recognizes the People’s Republic of China as the country’s only legitimate government and acknowledges — but doesn’t endorse — Beijing’s claims over Taiwan.

Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. is committed to sell weapons to Taiwan for its self-defense but is silent on whether the U.S. is obligated to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack.

Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said it may have been more advisable for Pelosi to stay at home "and take care of her own house."

"Why is it so important that Speaker Pelosi go to Taiwan? Why is she putting our military in the middle and responsible for defending her life?" Greene asked.

"Instead of staying in America and solving problems afflicting our people, she’s provoking war w/ the unpredictable Communist Party. Pelosi is so self-absorbed that she is willing to risk nuclear war and sacrifice our great military lives just so she can go to Taiwan to deliver U.S. taxpayer funded corporate welfare to foreign companies."

Greene added: "While we support Taiwan’s democracy and staunchly oppose China’s ridiculous aggression, no one respects a woman who won’t stay home and take care of her own house. She refused to defend the Capitol on J6, refuses to defend our borders, & refuses to protect children. Americans have had enough with a women obsessed with her own power she’s held for decades while our ENTIRE COUNTRY CRUMBLES."

In other developments, China temporarily halted imports of hundreds of Taiwanese food products just prior to Pelosi's visit to the self-governing island.

The website of China’s General Administration of Customs listed a few hundred Taiwanese products as “import suspended.” Some were associated with local major food manufacturers, pastry makers and dairy farms.

An official at Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture said the council’s initial assessment is that the restrictions hit hardest aquatic products, tea and honey, and that it is still in the process of contacting relevant companies to learn the full scope, the person said.

Among the affected products were sauces and seasonings produced by Wei Chuan Foods Corp., one of Taiwan’s biggest food manufacturers. A spokeswoman for Wei Chuan said it is working with the government to understand the situation and formulate a solution.

China in June imposed an export ban on Taiwanese grouper, an industry that is highly dependent on Chinese buyers. Beijing previously banned Taiwanese pineapples, wax apples and sugar apples.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying Aug. 2 statement:

"I think the world has seen very clearly that it is the U.S.’s provocations that have led to the escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

The U.S. should and must take full responsibility for it. Secretary Blinken’s words confound black with white and have once again revealed the hegemonic mindset and extortionist logic of some people in the U.S.. The U.S. is essentially saying to us that “I can make provocations against you as I please, but you cannot reject them or act in self-defense.”

Over the past few days, China has made clear its stern opposition through various channels and at different levels both in Beijing and Washington to the potential visit to Taiwan by Speaker Pelosi. Let me just reiterate certain points.

First, any U.S. government institution, executive, legislative and judicial alike, must act on the foreign policy recognized and committed to by the U.S. government.

In 1979, the U.S. government made a clear commitment in the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations that “the United States of America recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China. Within that context, the people of the U.S. will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.”

The U.S. Congress is part of the U.S. government, and it should strictly abide by the foreign policy recognized and committed to by the U.S. government. When the House Speaker, being the third-highest ranking figure in the U.S. government, flies on U.S. military aircraft and makes a provocative visit to the Taiwan region, it is by no means an unofficial action.

Second, the wrongful actions of certain U.S. politicians in the past do not constitute a precedent and still less should they become an excuse for the U.S. to repeat its mistake on the Taiwan question.

And third, the one-China principle is a universally recognized basic norm in international relations and a common understanding of the international community. It is on the basis of the one-China principle that China has established diplomatic ties with the U.S. and 180 other countries.

This is a solemn commitment the U.S. has made on the one-China principle to China in the three Sino-U.S. Joint Communiqués.
In recent years, the U.S. has claimed that it is committed to the one-China policy, but action-wise, it has been backtracking, and even blurring and hollowing out the one-China principle. It has inserted into its characterization of the one-China policy the so-called “Taiwan Relations Act” and the “Six assurances”, which were unilaterally concocted and have never been recognized and have been firmly opposed to by China. The U.S. has also gone against its commitment of maintaining non-official ties with the Taiwanregion. It has upgraded its level of contact with Taiwan and has steadily increased arms sales to Taiwan.

Many people with insight both within and outside the U.S. have seen this very clearly. They have repeatedly pointed out the danger of U.S. actions. According to former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who said at this year’s World Economic Forum, “my understanding of the agreement has been that the U.S. would uphold the principle of one China”, “I think it's essential that these principles be maintained”, and “the U.S. should not by subterfuge or a gradual process develop something of a two-China solution”.

After news came out about Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan, many people, including those from mainstream media and think tanks in the U.S. and former political leaders of some U.S. allies, have publicly said that whatever reason Pelosi uses to visit Taiwan, it would be foolish, dangerous, and unnecessary; that it would be a dangerous gamble; that it would be hard to imagine anything more reckless and provocative than this; and that if the U.S. side misjudges or mishandles the cross-Strait situation, it will lead to disastrous consequences for the Taiwan region and even the security, prosperity and order of the entire world.

Fourth, the U.S. has been following a strategy of using Taiwan to contain China.

And based on this strategy, the U.S. has supported and connived at Taiwan-independence separatist forces and has made deliberate provocations against China on the Taiwan question. It has been pushing the envelope on China’s red lines. The U.S. and Taiwan have made provocations together first, whereas China has been compelled to act in self-defense.

Any countermeasure to be taken by China would be a justified and necessary response to the U.S. oblivion to China’s repeated démarches and the U.S.’s unscrupulous behavior. And China is only exercising its right as any independent sovereign country would, not to mention that China is a country of more than 1.4 billion people with over 5,000 years of history. We hope that the U.S. is clear-eyed about that.

And fifth, the historical ins and outs of the Taiwan question are crystal clear, so are the facts and status quo that both two sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China. China firmly opposes separatist moves toward “Taiwan independence” and interference by external forces, and never allows any room for “Taiwan independence” forces in whatever form.

The position of the Chinese government and people on the Taiwan question is consistent. Resolutely safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity is the firm will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people. Achieving full reunification of the motherland is a shared aspiration of all Chinese people. And the U.S. should give up any attempt to play the Taiwan card and strictly abide by the one-China principle and the three Joint Communiqués both in words and deeds and to the letter.

If the U.S. insists on pursuing the wrong course of action, it will assume full responsibility for all serious consequences arising therefrom."

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