Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday condemned China’s plans to conduct live-fire drills following Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) visit to the island, saying the move violates Taiwan’s sovereignty.
Beijing on Tuesday announced it would conduct military exercises, including live-fire drills, in six maritime regions and their air space off the coast of Taiwan between Thursday and Sunday local time, just days after Pelosi became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island in 25 years. Pelosi departed Taiwan on Wednesday.
Taiwan’s defense ministry called the move from China a threat to Taiwan’s ports and urban areas and described it as “military intimidation” by the Chinese Communist Party in a release on Wednesday.
“The reckless behavior by Communist China of conducting live-fire drills in waters and skies close to Taiwan, some of which are in the neighboring waters of Taiwan, threatens international aviation routes, challenges the international order, damages the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and destroys regional security,” Sun Li-fang, spokesperson for Taiwan’s defense ministry, said at a press conference on Wednesday.
He added that the exercises will not help Beijing’s “national image,” while another Taiwanese defense official argued the drills go against the rules of the United Nations.
“The national army is determined to protect our country’s sovereignty and has the ability and confidence to take on this responsibility,” he said.
Pelosi arrived on the self-governing, democratic island on Tuesday, angering Beijing, which views the island as part of its territory.
During her visit, Pelosi said she respected the “One China” policy, in which the U.S. acknowledges Beijing’s position, but vowed she was “not backing away” from ensuring Taiwan’s freedom and security.
“There are certain insecurities on the part of the President of China as to his own political situation that he's rattling a saber, I don't know,” Pelosi said when asked about the military exercises.
“But it doesn't really matter,” she continued. “What matters to us is that we salute the successes of Taiwan, we work together for the security of Taiwan and we just take great lessons from the democracy of Taiwan.”
The U.S. Navy ahead of Pelosi's trip positioned several warships in waters near Taiwan, which the branch said was part of routine operations, while China reportedly placed two of its own aircraft carriers in the South China Sea in an apparent show of force.