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China-Taiwan news: White House calls China’s military drills ‘provocative’ and ‘irresponsible’ – live | Taiwan


White House calls China’s military drills “provocative” and “irresponsible”

A White House spokesperson said that China is trying to “change the status quo” through its military drills around Taiwan, according to Reuters.

“These activities are a significant escalation in China’s efforts to change the status quo. They are provocative, irresponsible, and raise the risk of miscalculation,” the spokesperson said. “They are also at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which is what the world expects.”

Key events

Summary

It’s 7 am in Taipei. Here’s a summary of the latest developments.

  • Taiwan scrambled jets to warn away 20 Chinese aircraft, including 14 that crossed the Taiwan Strait median line, the island’s defence ministry said on Saturday according to Reuters. Taiwan said China’s military drills appear to simulate an attack on the self-ruled island, AP reports.
  • In response to the military drills, the White House released a statement condemning the escalation. “These activities are a significant escalation in China’s efforts to change the status quo. They are provocative, irresponsible, and raise the risk of miscalculation,” a spokesperson said.
  • Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, accused the US of interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs. Chunying also said the US should have stopped Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week.
  • The Chinese embassy has warned Australia against involvement in its actions over Taiwan, saying “finger-pointing” against Beijing was unacceptable, reports Reuters. Foreign minister Penny Wong on Friday condemned Beijing’s “disproportionate and destabilising” actions, saying she had expressed her concern to her Chinese counterpart at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia. The Chinese embassy in Australia responded with a spokesperson’s statement on Saturday expressing concern and “discontent” about the remarks from the three countries.
  • Taiwan’s defence ministry said its naval forces are keeping tabs on China’s military vessels off the eastern coast. It comes after Taiwan accused Chinese aircraft and ships of carrying out simulation attack exercises on its main island on Saturday.
  • The People’s Liberation Army’s eastern theatre command said it continued on Saturday to conduct sea and air joint exercises north, southwest and east of Taiwan, as planned, Reuters reported. It said its focus was on testing the system’s land strike and sea assault capabilities.
  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Saturday that China should not hold talks on important global matters such as the climate crisis “hostage”, after Beijing cut off contacts with Washington in retaliation for US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week. Blinken spoke in an online news conference with his Philippine counterpart in Manila after meeting the newly elected president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, and other top officials.
  • Speaking at a rally in Wisconsin, the former US president Donald Trump has questioned why Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. He told supporters: “What was she doing in Taiwan? She was China’s dream, she gave them an excuse. They’ve been looking for that excuse.”
  • Taiwan’s defence ministry has accused Chinese aircraft and ships of carrying out simulation attack exercises on its main island on Saturday. Several batches of Chinese aircraft and ships were detected in the Taiwan Strait, some of which crossed the median line – an unofficial buffer separating the two sides – according to the ministry. Taiwan’s army used patrolling naval ships and put shore-based missiles on stand-by in response.
  • A Taiwan official who was in charge of various missile production projects was found dead on Saturday morning in a hotel room in southern Taiwan, according to the official Central News Agency. Ou Yang Li-hsing, the deputy head of the military-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, was 57. The cause of his death is unknown, CNA reported.
  • The US, Australian and Japanese foreign ministers have urged China to immediately cease military exercises around Taiwan. In a joint statement after meeting in Phnom Penh on the margins of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers’ gathering, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and the foreign ministers of Australia and Japan, Penny Wong and Hayashi Yoshimasa, “expressed their concern about the People’s Republic of China’s recent actions that gravely affect international peace and stability, including the use of large-scale military exercises”. They also “condemned the PRC’s launch of ballistic missiles, five of which the Japanese government reported landed in its exclusive economic zones, raising tension and destabilising the region”.
  • Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, said Chinese military drills near Taiwan were a threat to regional security. Beijing announced four days of drills that are expected to finish on Sunday. The drills are a “serious problem that impacts our national security and the safety of our citizens”, Kishida told reporters, speaking after a meeting with the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in Tokyo on Friday.
  • North Korea has denounced Nancy Pelosi as “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability”, after the US House speaker expressed her commitment during a visit to South Korea to achieving the North’s denuclearisation. It also condemned her trip to Taiwan.

The Chinese embassy in Australia released a lengthy statement in response to the joint statement made by the foreign ministers of Australia, Japan and the United States that expressed concerns over China’s military drills in Taiwan.

“Instead of expressing sympathy and support to the victim, the Australian side has condemned the victim along with the perpetrators,” the statement from the embassy read. “This is completely putting the cart before the horse and reversing the right from the wrong.”

The statement went on to say that Japan “should be the first to engage in self-reflection and discretion” for its history of colonization in Taiwan.

“Australia should not take sides and blindly make unfair judgments that run counter to the facts.”

“We hope the Australian side should view China-Australia relations with serious attitude, respect facts, uphold justice and abandon wrong standing,” the statement read.

The New York Times published a story today analyzing the deep-set fears Xi Jinping has in his party losing control in China. Here’s an excerpt from the report:

Over informal, private meals with American leaders, China’s Xi Jinping let his guard down a little. It was a decade ago, relations were less strained, and Mr. Xi, still cementing his power, hinted he worried about the Chinese Communist Party’s grip.

Speaking privately with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, Mr. Xi suggested that China was a target of “color revolutions,” a phrase the party adopted from Russia for popular unrest in the name of democracy and blamed on the West. The recent “Arab Spring” uprisings across the Middle East had reinforced his concerns that China was vulnerable to public anger over corruption and inequality, both of which the country had in abundance.

“Xi couldn’t have been more forthright that China is beset by malevolent forces and internally prey to centrifugal forces,” said Daniel R. Russel, a former senior American diplomat who accompanied Mr. Biden to China in 2011.

“He would talk all the time about color revolutions. That’s clearly a sort of front-of-mind issue for him,” said Ryan Hass, the National Security Council director for China when Mr. Xi later visited the White House.

Such fears have come to define the era of Mr. Xi. Over the past decade, he has pursued an all-encompassing drive to expand the very meaning of “national security” in China, bolstering the party’s control on all fronts against any perceived threats abroad that could pounce on weakness at home.

He has strengthened, centralized and emboldened an already pervasive security apparatus, turning it into a hulking fortress that protects him and positions him as the most powerful leader since Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Mr. Xi has built what he calls a “comprehensive” system designed for a world he sees as determined to thwart China — politically, economically, socially, militarily and technologically.

For anyone interested in reading up on Taiwenese history and culture, University of Washington historian James Lin posted on Twitter a syllabus from his graduate class on the country.

As a historian of Taiwan, I’m lucky to be at an institution where I can teach a dedicated Taiwan Studies graduate seminar. I’m sharing my syllabus here (abridged) in case others might be interested in reading some of my favorite scholarship on different aspects of Taiwan. 1/n pic.twitter.com/Ypb7VGuvMc

— James Lin (@jamestwotree) July 14, 2020

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story about what life is like in Taiwan days after Nancy Pelosi’s visit as China escalates tension in the region. Largely, life is going on as usual. Here’s more from the report:

Democratic Taiwan is encircled by the fleet of Communist-ruled mainland China, part of Beijing’s response to a visit Wednesday by U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The four-day drill simulates a blockade of the main island, with live firing in demarcated zones—one of which is less than 6 miles from the Liuqiu lookout, where local businessman Kevin Tseng said dozens of visitors gathered with their cameras Thursday afternoon.

“They were there to watch the fun,” said Mr. Tseng, adding that the drills have had no noticeable impact on his scooter-rental business, with just one group citing them when they texted to cancel a booking. Otherwise, everyday life on the island goes on as usual, he said.

“If they really attack us, there’s nothing I can do about it, so I just relax and take it easy,” the 40-year-old said. …

Taiwan’s night markets were teeming Friday evening with crowds craving their favorite street food or lining up for bubble tea. Markets and grocery stores were well stocked, too. Cultural activities such as live-music performances in the capital of Taipei—dubbed Asia’s answer to Portland, Ore.—are continuing as usual.

The Chinese drills were largely absent from the daily conversations of more than 20 people contacted by The Wall Street Journal.

White House calls China’s military drills “provocative” and “irresponsible”

A White House spokesperson said that China is trying to “change the status quo” through its military drills around Taiwan, according to Reuters.

“These activities are a significant escalation in China’s efforts to change the status quo. They are provocative, irresponsible, and raise the risk of miscalculation,” the spokesperson said. “They are also at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which is what the world expects.”

A slate of low-quality titles just published after Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan are being sold on Amazon, one Twitter user pointed out. The books appear to be by fake authors, with some including Pelosi’s name in the title or cover.

New disinformation push on Amazon? A torrent of new low quality “books” about Taiwan has appeared; a quick Google shows at least some of the content is plagiarised, and the names of the authors appear to be fake. I count 61 of these under one search term alone. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/ICakkKlzgb

— Michael Cannings (@formosaphile) August 5, 2022

Amazon has come under fire for recommending titles with questionable authorship to its customers, such as ones on coronavirus. Under Amazon’s content guidelines for books, Amazon does “not allow descriptive content meant to mislead customers or that doesn’t accurately represent the content of the book”.

Tech companies will likely have a lot on their hands as China escalates tensions with Taiwan. In 2019, Chinese state media outlets tried to buy paid advertisements on Facebook and Twitter that poorly portrayed Hong Kong protestors. In 2020, a swarm of accounts on Twitter were pushing out non-stop pro-Beijing content as China sought to shape the narrative around Covid-19.

Canada’s defense minister Anita Anand said that China’s military drills around Taiwan are an “unnecessary escalation” in an interview with CBC Radio.

“There is no justification to use a visit as a pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait,” Anand said. “It is routine for legislators from our countries to travel internationally, and China’s escalatory response simply risks increasing tensions and destabilizing the region.”

On Friday, China’s foreign ministry summoned Beijing-based Canadian diplomat Jim Nickel over the country’s participation in a statement from G7 nations calling on China to end its aggressive action around Taiwan.

More drones were seen flying over the Kinmen islands Saturday night, Kinmen’s defense command has reported, according to CNA, Taiwan’s national news agency.

Just in: #Taiwan’s army in Kinmen said three drones entered restricted water near the island and the army fired flares to warn it. This is the third night in a row that Taiwan has reported such activities. The first two times were done by Chinese drones. https://t.co/XTIHIjaZxk

— William Yang (@WilliamYang120) August 6, 2022

Similar drones were flying over restricted waters around the islands Friday night. In response, the Taiwanese army fired signal flares to warn off the unidentified drones.

This is Lauren Aratani in New York taking over for Joe Middleton. While it is still morning in much of the United States, it is nearly midnight in Taiwan.

A Twitter user posted a video of an EDM bubble-bath party taking place on Dongyin, an island that’s about 30 miles from China that’s been attracting Taiwanese tourists for years.

Tonight’s Dongyin Island 東引 during the “4th Taiwan Strait Crisis”: around 50km from China on the northern end of the Taiwan Strait. The EDM bubble-bath party rages on, as Taiwanese tourists here to attend an annual obstacle race dance under the gaze of a military statue. pic.twitter.com/Wm0SFSRae5

— Wen Lii 李問 (@wen1949) August 6, 2022

Before Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the country, a drone was spotted flying over the island. While Taiwanese officials haven’t identified the drone, they didn’t rule out the possibility it was used to test government response.

Summary

Here’s a summary of the latest developments as it passes 11pm in Taipei.

  • Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, accused the US of interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs. Chunying also said the US should have stopped Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week.
  • The Chinese embassy has warned Australia against involvement in its actions over Taiwan, saying “finger-pointing” against Beijing was unacceptable, reports Reuters. Foreign minister Penny Wong on Friday condemned Beijing’s “disproportionate and destabilising” actions, saying she had expressed her concern to her Chinese counterpart at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia. The Chinese embassy in Australia responded with a spokesperson’s statement on Saturday expressing concern and “discontent” about the remarks from the three countries.
  • Taiwan scrambled jets to warn away 20 Chinese aircraft, including 14 that crossed the Taiwan Strait median line, the island’s defence ministry said on Saturday according to Reuters. Taiwan said China’s military drills appear to simulate an attack on the self-ruled island, AP reports.
  • Taiwan’s defence ministry said its naval forces are keeping tabs on China’s military vessels off the eastern coast. It comes after Taiwan accused Chinese aircraft and ships of carrying out simulation attack exercises on its main island on Saturday.
  • The People’s Liberation Army’s eastern theatre command said it continued on Saturday to conduct sea and air joint exercises north, southwest and east of Taiwan, as planned, Reuters reported. It said its focus was on testing the system’s land strike and sea assault capabilities.
  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Saturday that China should not hold talks on important global matters such as the climate crisis “hostage”, after Beijing cut off contacts with Washington in retaliation for US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this week. Blinken spoke in an online news conference with his Philippine counterpart in Manila after meeting the newly elected president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, and other top officials.
  • Speaking at a rally in Wisconsin, the former US president Donald Trump has questioned why Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. He told supporters: “What was she doing in Taiwan? She was China’s dream, she gave them an excuse. They’ve been looking for that excuse.”
  • Taiwan’s defence ministry has accused Chinese aircraft and ships of carrying out simulation attack exercises on its main island on Saturday. Several batches of Chinese aircraft and ships were detected in the Taiwan Strait, some of which crossed the median line – an unofficial buffer separating the two sides – according to the ministry. Taiwan’s army used patrolling naval ships and put shore-based missiles on stand-by in response.
  • A Taiwan official who was in charge of various missile production projects was found dead on Saturday morning in a hotel room in southern Taiwan, according to the official Central News Agency. Ou Yang Li-hsing, the deputy head of the military-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, was 57. The cause of his death is unknown, CNA reported.
  • The US, Australian and Japanese foreign ministers have urged China to immediately cease military exercises around Taiwan. In a joint statement after meeting in Phnom Penh on the margins of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers’ gathering, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and the foreign ministers of Australia and Japan, Penny Wong and Hayashi Yoshimasa, “expressed their concern about the People’s Republic of China’s recent actions that gravely affect international peace and stability, including the use of large-scale military exercises”. They also “condemned the PRC’s launch of ballistic missiles, five of which the Japanese government reported landed in its exclusive economic zones, raising tension and destabilising the region”.
  • Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, said Chinese military drills near Taiwan were a threat to regional security. Beijing announced four days of drills that are expected to finish on Sunday. The drills are a “serious problem that impacts our national security and the safety of our citizens”, Kishida told reporters, speaking after a meeting with the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in Tokyo on Friday.
  • North Korea has denounced Nancy Pelosi as “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability”, after the US House speaker expressed her commitment during a visit to South Korea to achieving the North’s denuclearisation. It also condemned her trip to Taiwan.
  • The US special envoy on climate change, John Kerry, said China’s decision to suspend bilateral talks on climate change with the US does not punish Washington, “it punishes the world”. “No country should withhold progress on existential transnational issues because of bilateral differences,” said the former US secretary of state, who is currently the Biden administration’s top climate diplomat. US national security council spokesperson, John Kirby, also told reporters that China’s decision to halt cooperation in a number of critical areas was “fundamentally irresponsible”.

China claims US should have stopped Pelosi’s visit

On Saturday, Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, accused the US of interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs.

Chunying also said the US should have stopped Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week.

She added that the US needs to stop trying to “hollow out” the one-China policy. This refers to an arrangement dating back to the 1970s that countries can maintain formal diplomatic relations with China or Taiwan, but not both.

Washington currently maintains an informal relationship with Taiwan that includes selling it weapons so it can defend itself.

Talking about “responsible” @StateDept, the US should have stopped #Pelosi‘s visit to #Taiwan and stop showing muscles at China’s doorsteps, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs,…

— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) August 6, 2022

…stop using salami tactics to encroach upon and hollow out the one-China policy, stop upgrading relations with Taiwan and stop arms sales to Taiwan.

— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) August 6, 2022

These are some of the latest images to be sent to us over the newswires from Taiwan.

Taiwan navy ships are seen at the port in Keelung, Taiwan, on 6 August 2022.
Taiwan navy ships are seen at the port in Keelung, Taiwan, on 6 August 2022. Photograph: Jameson Wu/Reuters
In this photo provided by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a People’s Liberation Army member looks through binoculars during military exercises on Friday. Taiwan’s frigate Lan Yang is seen at the rear.
In this photo provided by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a People’s Liberation Army member looks through binoculars during military exercises on Friday. Taiwan’s frigate Lan Yang is seen at the rear. Photograph: Lin Jian/AP
A Mirage 2000 fighter jet prepares to take off at an airbase in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on 6 August 2022.
A Mirage 2000 fighter jet prepares to take off at an airbase in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on 6 August 2022. Photograph: Ritchie B Tongo/EPA

American candy giant Mars Wrigley has insisted it “respects China’s national sovereignty” and apologised after an advert for its Snickers bar referred to Taiwan as a country, reports AFP.

Screenshots of marketing for the nutty chocolate bar featuring the South Korean boyband BTS were swiftly picked up on social media in mainland China, prompting outrage.

A statement from Mars Wrigley posted to the Snickers Weibo page said:

We are aware of reports on Snickers-related activities in certain regions of Asia, take this very seriously and express our deep apologies.

The statement added:

Mars Wrigley respects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and conducts business operations in strict compliance with local Chinese laws and regulations.

Taiwan is a self-governing democracy but is viewed by Beijing as a breakaway province that it one day intends to “reunify”.

The Chinese embassy has warned Australia against involvement in its actions over Taiwan, saying “finger-pointing” against Beijing was unacceptable, reports Reuters.

China launched ballistic missiles during live fire exercises near Taiwan following the controversial visit of the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to the island earlier in the week.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said Chinese ships and planes conducted missions in the Taiwan Strait, with some crossing the median line, in what the Taiwan military described as a simulation attack on the island.

Foreign minister Penny Wong on Friday condemned Beijing’s “disproportionate and destabilising” actions, saying she had expressed her concern to her Chinese counterpart at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia.

The Chinese embassy in Australia responded with a spokesperson’s statement on Saturday expressing concern and “discontent” about the remarks from the three countries.

The statement said:

It is absolutely unacceptable for the finger-pointing on China’s justified actions to safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Taiwan scrambles jets as Chinese aircraft cross median line

Taiwan scrambled jets to warn away 20 Chinese aircraft, including 14 that crossed the Taiwan Strait median line, the island’s defence ministry said on Saturday according to Reuters.

Taiwan said China’s military drills appear to simulate an attack on the self-ruled island, AP reports.

Taiwan also detected 14 Chinese military ships conducting activities around the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said in a statement.

Helen Davidson

Helen Davidson

Helen Davidson in Taipei reports of further incursions over median line in military drills:

China’s military has pressed ahead with its largest ever military drills, targeting Taiwan with what the island’s government called a simulated attack, including further incursions over the median line and drone flights over Taiwan’s outlying islands.

Global pushback on China’s live-fire drills, launched in response to a visit by the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan earlier in the week, also continued, with condemnation from senior US officials and foreign ministers from Australia and Japan.

Beijing vociferously objected to Pelosi’s visit, which it said affronted its “one China” principle, a domestic policy outlining the government’s territorial claim over democratic and de facto independent Taiwan.

On Saturday, Taiwan’s ministry of defence said it had observed People’s Liberation Army (PLA) planes and ships operating in the Taiwan strait, believing them to be simulating an attack on its main island.

Read more from Helen Davidson’s here:

Experts have told AFP that the latest downturn in relations between the US and China could be long-lasting.

The suspension Friday of bilateral military and maritime dialogue while China continues its military exercises was “particularly worrisome”, said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the German Marshall Fund.

She said:

We don’t know what else they will do. We just don’t know if this is just a temporary thing.

John Culver, a former CIA Asia analyst, said in a discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies that Beijing’s main purpose with its military exercises was to change that status quo.

He said:

I think that this is the new normal. The Chinese want to show… that a line has been crossed by the speaker’s visit.

Helen Davidson

Helen Davidson

Helen Davidson in Taipei analyses what the fallout from Pelosi’s visit means for Taiwan and China:

Things changed this week for Taiwan. When news of a highly controversial visit by the US speaker, Nancy Pelosi, drew threats of reprisals from Beijing, most citizens shrugged. China frequently fulminates over foreign visits to Taiwan, which it claims is a Chinese province it will soon retake, and with which it tries to stop any international cooperation. Its regular promises of countermeasures rarely exceed some People’s Liberation Army jets flying in and out of Taiwan’s large air defence identification zone (ADIZ).

But analysts warned that this time looked different. Beijing’s protests were louder and more threatening, and gave little room for either it or the US to retreat without losing credibility. This time, it would have to follow through with something bigger, they said.

China did.

Shortly after Pelosi arrived, Beijing announced military drills in six sea areas surrounding the main island of Taiwan, starting the morning after her departure and running to Sunday. The plan was unprecedented in how close the zones were to Taiwan, including some that overlapped Taiwan’s territorial waters stretching 7 miles (12km) out from its coastline.

Read more of Helen Davidson’s analysis here: What the fallout from Pelosi’s visit means for Taiwan and China





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