China begins military drills around Taiwan

Foreign Affairs

In the aftermath of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s high-profile visit to Taiwan, Beijing has fired off ballistic missiles in the waters surrounding the island and has promised days of live-fire military tests and drills.

Image by Nadya Yeh of the Dongfeng series missile tests that Beijing fired around the waters surrounding Taiwan.

China has launched a series of ballistic missile tests in waters northeast and southwest of Taiwan, the island’s Foreign Ministry announced. Beijing is threatening key ports and cities by performing military drills in the coming days to punish Taipei for hosting a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

  • Five of the missiles fired by China landed within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said, posing “serious threats to Japan’s national security and the safety of the Japanese people.”
  • The Kremlin backed China’s sovereign right to hold military drills around Taiwan on Thursday, and accused the United States of fueling tensions in the region. Taipei has condemned the statement.

China also withdrew from talks with Japan just hours before a scheduled meeting between the countries’ foreign ministers on the sidelines of an ASEAN gathering in Phnom Penh, the first one-on-one meeting between the pair since Yoshimasa Hayashi took the post in November.

  • Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Huá Chūnyíng 华春莹 told reporters that the decision was made after the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations released a statement that said there was “no justification” for China’s “threatening actions” in response to Pelosi’s visit.
  • “The statement of the G7 foreign ministers calls white black, confuses right and wrong, and makes groundless accusations against China’s reasonable and lawful measures to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity. How do they have such rights? Who gives them that right?” said Chinese Foreign Minister Wáng Yì 王毅.

Roughly 500 miles east, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol came under domestic fire after he opted for a phone call on Thursday instead of greeting Pelosi in person, likely making him the only leader not to meet Pelosi during her tour of Asia. Every other South Korean president has met Pelosi since she first took her position in 2007.

  • “President Yoon’s vacation schedule and Speaker Pelosi’s visit to the Republic of Korea overlapped, and we did not rearrange our schedule,” his office said in a statement.

Nadya Yeh