The US President Biden voiced his ‘concern’ on Chinese military drills around Taiwan but added he doesn’t expect an escalation.
US President Joe Biden spoke to reporters after China said it carried military drills around Taiwan. Yesterday China’s Eastern Theatre Command said it would conduct joint drills. According to China, these drills would focus on anti-submarine and sea assault operations-thus confirming fears of increasing Chinese pressure on Taiwan.
“I am not worried, but I am concerned they are moving as much as they are. But I don’t think they are going to do anything more than they are”, Biden said.
Soon White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre condemned China’s military drills. “ We have been condemning them since they started escalating. They are provocative, and irresponsible and raise the risk of miscalculation. And that’s what he-the President Biden was referring to ” she said.
Nancy Pelosi’s Visit Has Angered China
According to Biden China’s increasingly aggressive posturing towards Taiwan has been in response to a visit Nancy Pelosi paid to Taipei last week. In response, China has snapped defence and climate talks with the US and even imposed sanctions on Pelosi in retaliation.
China has also test-launched multiple missiles along the Taiwan strait, some of them hitting a Japanese exclusive economic zone. China believes that Taiwan is a part of the Chinese mainland. On the other hand, Pelosi’s support for anti-China, pro-democracy activists in Taiwan has angered them. And Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has provoked them. Yet both the Biden administration and Pelosi say that the US remains committed to a “One-China policy”, while simultaneously allowing defence ties and informal relations with Taiwan.
However, US Under Secretary of Defence for Policy, Colin Kahl told that the United States believes it is unlikely that China would try to retake Taiwan’s military in the next few years.
Clearly, the PRC is trying to coerce Taiwan, clearly, they’re trying to coerce the international community. And all I say is we’re not going to take the bait and it’s not going to work, he said. The US forces in the region would continue to operate, fly and sail wherever is permitted under international law, including the Taiwan Strait, he added.
Taiwan Criticises China’s Actions
Taiwan’s foreign ministry has condemned Chinese military drills. It warned China is deliberately creating a crisis and demanded Beijing stop its military actions and “pull back from the edge”.
“ In the face of military intimidation from China Taiwan will not be afraid or back down and will more firmly defend its sovereignty, national security and free and democratic way of life,” the ministry said in a statement.
On Monday, the Taiwanese Defence Ministry detected 39 PLA air force jets and 13 navy ships around the Taiwan strait. 21 Chinese airforce jets had entered Taiwan’s air defence zone and crossed the median line in the northern part of the Taiwan strait, it said. Meanwhile, the duration and the location of China’s recent military drill are still unknown. On its part, Taiwan has already eased flight restrictions near the six earlier Chinese exercise areas surrounding the island.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s official Central News Agency has reported that Taiwan’s army may conduct live-fire artillery drills in Southern Pingtung county on Tuesday and Thursday in response to China’s drills. These drills would also involve snipers, combat vehicles as well as attack helicopters.
China Had No Reason to be Angry Over Pelosi’s Visit
Taiwan’s de-facto ambassador to Washington, Bikhim Hsiao, said China had no reason to be angry over Pelosi’s visit. Taiwan has had a long tradition of American lawmakers visiting the country.
“ Well, you know we’ve been living under threat from China for decades. If you have a kid bullied at school, you don’t say you don’t go to school. You try to find a way to deal with the bully”, he said.
(Inputs, Reuters, CBC News, Times of Israel)