China Just Fired Missiles Over Taiwan
Following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit to Taiwan, China has fired multiple missiles, a number of which flew over Taiwan while some landed in Japan's EEZ, according to a CNN report.
The missiles were launched on August 4 as part of a massive Chinese military drill that coincides with Pelosi's visit to the island. China, angered by Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, surrounded the entire island with military drills in five directions—an unprecedented move. It involves some of China’s most highly guarded military assets, such as its untested J-20 stealth fighters.
Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang responded to the missile launch on August 5, saying "the evil neighbor next door flexed its muscles on our doorstep and arbitrarily sabotaged (one of) the busiest waterways in the world with military exercises," CNN quoted.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken described China's move as an unjustified escalation, saying "there was no possible justification for what they have done," according to Reuters.
In a press briefing at the White House, Spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council John Kirby said the move was not unexpected.
"We anticipated that China might take steps like this. In fact, I described them for you in quite some detail just the other day. We also expect that these actions will continue and that the Chinese will continue to react in the coming days," Kirby said.
The last time China launched missiles into Taiwanese airspace was during the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis between 1995 to 1996 when the latter conducted missile tests in waters surrounding the island. The crisis began when Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui accepted an invitation from Cornell University to deliver a speech on "Taiwan's Democratization Experience."
Pelosi's visit to Taiwan triggered a similar reaction from China.
Pelosi has a long history of voicing support for Taiwan and pushing back against China’s rise. Her visit to Taipei comes at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan. For Beijing, Taiwan is an inherent part of China, albeit with a different government. It sees Pelosi’s visit to the island not only as a violation of China’s sovereignty but also as a gesture supporting calls for Taiwan’s independence.
In recent months, China has been more vocal about its claims over Taiwan and has increased military activity around the island, particularly by sending warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone or ADIZ. Taiwan is technically part of China based on the One China Policy. Although the U.S. recognizes this policy, it maintains robust diplomatic relations with Taiwan and has even provided military equipment to the island for defense against an invasion from the mainland.
Although the U.S. does not officially support Taiwan’s aspirations for independence, it does support maintaining the status quo of Taiwan having an independent government. Back in May 2022, the U.S. warned of “especially stark” consequences if China decides to alter that status quo.