Taiwan maintained a defiant tone on Wednesday in the face of threats from China, ready to throw military maneuvers near the island in retaliation for the visit of the president of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
The delegation of Pelosi He left Taiwan on Wednesday night and headed to South Korea, his next stop on his Asia tour.
The US representative had landed in Taiwan, despite threats from Beijing, which considers the island to be part of its territory and denounced this visit as a provocation.
China responded firmly and promised to act accordingly.
“This is a complete farce. The US violates China’s sovereignty under the guise of so-called ‘democracy’… those who offend China will be punisheds,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Phnom Penh.
But Taipei remained defiant in the face of this threatening speech.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen assured that “in the face of growing and deliberate military threats, Taiwan will not back down (…) We will maintain the line of defense of democracy.”
China tries to isolate Taiwan from the world and opposes all countries that maintain an official relationship with the island.
Pelosi became the highest US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years.
“Our delegation … came to Taiwan to make it clear, unequivocally, that we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and that we are proud of our lasting friendship,” said Pelosi, 82, during a ceremony with the Taiwanese leader.
On Tuesday night, the Chinese Foreign Ministry summoned US Ambassador Nicholas Burns. Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng told him of his country’s “steadfast protests” and told him that “Taiwan is the Taiwan of China”, according to the official Xinhua agency.
Live ammunition shots
For its part, the Chinese Ministry of Defense promised “selective military actions”, with a series of military maneuvers around the island that will begin on Thursday, including “the firing of long-range live ammunition” in the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from mainland China.
These maneuvers are “a necessary measure and legitimate to respond to the serious provocations of some US politicians and Taiwanese independence activists,” according to Chinese diplomacy.
At certain points, the Chinese area of operations will come within 20 kilometers of the Taiwanese coast, according to coordinates shared by the Chinese military.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry said the exercises violate the territorial waters of the island.
“Some areas of the Chinese exercises violate … Taiwanese territorial waters,” Defense Ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang said. “This is an irrational action that defies the international order”, he added.
Japan expressed to China its concern about the maneuvers, which in its opinion overlap its economic exclusion zone.
The US “will bear the responsibility”
The Beijing Ministry of Commerce also announced Economic sanctions, among them the suspension of the export to Taiwan of natural sand, a key component in the manufacture of semiconductors, one of the main exports of the island. And the Chinese customs administration too canceled import of fruit and certain fish from Taiwan.
China and Taiwan have been separated in fact since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s communist troops defeated the nationalists, who took refuge on the island.
In 1979, the United States recognized the Peking government as China’s representative, although it continued to give military backing for Taiwan.
The prospect of Pelosi visiting the island has heated tensions between the two superpowers. “The United States will bear the responsibility and pay the price for undermine China’s sovereignty and security,” a spokeswoman for Chinese diplomacy said Tuesday before the US official arrived in Taiwan.
The “reunification” of China is a priority goal for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who last week formally told Biden over the phone to avoid “play with fire”.
World stocks were mostly higher on Wednesday, even though news of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Tuesday sent chills down the spine of global financial markets already jittery over the Ukraine war, rising inflation, rising interest rates interest and slowing economic growth.