China Fires Missiles Near Taiwan after Pelosi Visit
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a splash with her recent visit to Taiwan — or, at least, she provoked a few. Shortly after she landed, the Chinese military on Tuesday announced live-fire “training drills” in six zones, virtually surrounding Taiwan with at least 10 ships and 100 planes. At least 21 aircraft crossed into Taiwanese space. China also fired at least 11 cruise missiles into Taiwanese waters. The missiles, which China described as “precision missile strikes,” were visible from a popular tourist destination.
Meanwhile, Chinese officials have expressed their displeasure in no uncertain terms. “What Pelosi has done is definitely not a defense and maintenance of democracy, but a provocation and violation of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” insisted CCP Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. “China-U.S. relations and regional peace and stability is suffering.”
“Those who play with fire will perish by it,” Chairman Xi Jinping warned President Biden the week before Pelosi’s trip. His intimidation attempt didn’t succeed against Pelosi, but it did cow Biden.
The People’s Republic of China has viewed the very existence of the island nation of Taiwan as an insult to its national sovereignty since the communists first conquered the mainland. The U.S. does not officially recognize Taiwan as an independent nation but unofficially bolsters their military. Pelosi is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich visited in 1997.
Hua took the opportunity to attack America, too. “The kind of ‘democracy’ referred to by Pelosi is like nothing but a robe with lice crawling all over it. It may look opulent from a distance, but couldn’t stand close scrutiny,” she said. That is, well, an imaginative description, to say the least. Her exhibits — January 6, George Floyd, Uvalde, COVID, Iraq, and Afghanistan — seemed like they were gleaned from a brief perusal of the America-hating propaganda mills, which formerly reported news.
Of course, China’s own record isn’t too shiny. Despite their attempts to cover up their behavior, the international community recognizes their genocide of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, their longstanding oppression of Tibet, their brutal crackdown of Hong Kong, and their senseless lockdown of Shanghai. Problems seemingly run deeper. This summer, Chinese police were beating their own citizens (subjects?) who rushed banks after their assets were frozen. The glaring difference between the U.S. and China is that the American press is free to criticize this great nation. China may know how to wield proverbs and parables, but here’s one for them: those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry responded that China’s bullying “will not help China’s international image.” In response to the aerial incursions, Taiwan scrambled jets to intercept China’s aircraft. “They flew in and then flew out, again and again. They continue to harass us,” a Taiwanese source said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy moved four ships closer to Taiwan in response — far from an adequate number if China did decide to invade. The administration that sacrificed Afghanistan to the Taliban and was hapless to prevent a Russian invasion of Ukraine yet again looks weak in the face of a global adversary.
Will Biden’s weakness persuade China this is the time to invade? The 74-year-old nation of 23 million people could be snuffed out in an instance by its powerful neighbor — all because its primary ally, the U.S., is led by a president who is even older. The reactions of all parties seem to indicate they understand this is possible.
If China decides to invade, how will the U.S. respond?
Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.