China conducted a three-day military exercise around Taiwan, simulating a series of precision attacks in what is seen as a clear warning to the island nation. This comes after Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, met with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, which Beijing sees as a provocation. China considers Taiwan a Chinese province and believes that the Taiwanese president should not be allowed to meet with leaders of other countries.
China has previously indicated that it will bring the island under its control by force if necessary. In recent years, Beijing has increased military pressure on Taiwan by regularly flying around the island. On Friday, it was announced that China had introduced a number of sanctions against Taiwan’s representative in the U.S., Hsiao Bi-khim. As a result of the sanctions, Hsiao and her family are not allowed to enter China. The two institutes where McCarthy and Hsiao met, the Reagan Library and the Hudson Institute, have also been sanctioned.
China sees Tsai as a separatist and refuses to accede to her request to talk about the conflict. But according to the Taiwanese president, only the people of Taiwan can decide their future. Upon her return to Taiwan, Tsai told the assembled press on Friday, “We show the world that Taiwan will only be more united when facing pressure and threats. We will never give in because of oppression, and we will never stop meeting.”
The meeting between Tsai and McCarthy was carefully planned. It was the first time since 1979 that such a high-ranking American politician met with a Taiwanese president on their own soil. China promised to respond to a meeting between Tsai and McCarthy. China believes that contact between American and Taiwanese politicians is a provocation that “damages China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Although Washington has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it is compelled by legislation to help the island with its defense. Meanwhile, Taiwan has become a sensitive issue in the already tense U.S.-China relationship.
The three-day military operation began on Saturday morning with dozens of warplanes and naval vessels. Chinese state television reported that readiness patrols and exercises around Taiwan are continuing. The simulated precision strikes targeted “key targets on the island, and several units would continue to take an ‘offensive posture’ around the island.” Taiwan’s Defense Ministry accuses China of violating regional peace, stability, and security with the exercises. The ministry reports that Taiwan’s air force is on standby, but that the island will not escalate the conflict. Taiwan’s response will be “appropriate,” the ministry said.
The meeting between Tsai and McCarthy has further strained the already tense relationship between China and the U.S. After the meeting, McCarthy said he discussed with Tsai how to speed up U.S. arms deliveries to Taiwan. The politician also said he wanted to strengthen cooperation in technology and trade.
The current situation underscores the complexity of the relationship between China and the United States. Although the U.S. and China are important trading partners, there are major disagreements between the two countries on human rights, geopolitics, and military power. Tensions between China and Taiwan are likely to remain a major issue in international politics for a long time, and it is unclear how this conflict will eventually be resolved.
Taiwan plays an important role in the geopolitics of the region. The United States and China are vying for influence in Asia, and Taiwan is an important factor in this struggle. While the U.S. supports Taiwan in its quest for independence, China sees it as a red line that must not be crossed.
In addition to increasing military pressure on Taiwan, China has also imposed economic sanctions on the island. Taiwan’s economy is heavily dependent on exports to China, making it vulnerable to economic coercion. Beijing has also stepped up efforts to isolate Taiwan diplomatically by pressuring countries to sever ties with the island.
However, Taiwan has refused to back down and has continued to strengthen its defense capabilities with the help of the United States. In recent years, Taiwan has increased defense spending, acquired new weapons systems, and conducted military exercises to prepare for a potential conflict with China.