China’s military drills spur fears of a Taiwan invasion

China’s military drills spur fears of a Taiwan invasion
A Navy Force helicopter under the Eastern Theatre Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) takes part in military exercises in the waters around Taiwan, at an undisclosed location August 8, 2022 in this handout picture released on August 9, 2022. Eastern Theatre Command/Handout via REUTERS

Last week, China began military drills in the waters near Taiwan, even reportedly inching past the unofficial boundary line of Taiwanese territory in the Taiwan Strait. These drills are widely seen as a show of intimidation against the region after Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit.

Yesterday, Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, claimed that the military drills are really preparation to invade the island. He didn’t say exactly when he expects this invasion to happen, but he warned that “after the drills conclude, China may try to routinize its action in an attempt to wreck the long-term status quo across the Taiwan Strait." In response, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said these claims “distort the truth and obscure the facts." The US has said it’s sticking with its take that China won’t invade Taiwan within the next two years.

Yesterday, Taiwan started its own batch of scheduled military drills. It’s been reported that Taiwan and China are currently having a “standoff" at the median line of the Taiwan Strait. Pelosi is standing by her decision to visit Taiwan.

Key comments:

“It is conducting large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyberattacks, disinformation, and economic coercion, in an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan. After the drills conclude, China may try to routinize its action in an attempt to wreck the long-term status quo across the Taiwan Strait," Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu said at a conference.

“We cannot allow the Chinese government to isolate Taiwan," Nancy Pelosi said in an interview with NBC News. “They’re not going to say who can go to Taiwan."

“Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan created a sense of unity on social media, which was flooded with comments expressing support for the Chinese military and calls for a unification with Taiwan," Manya Koetse, who monitors Chinese social media for the website WhatsOnWeibo, told The Guardian.