China appears to be mobilizing its military in an apparent follow-through on threats to the United States it made earlier this week. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) issued the warning in response to news that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would visit Taiwan as part of her Asia tour.
“When the House speaker, being the third-highest ranking figure in the US government, flies on a US military plane to make a provocative visit to the Taiwan region, it is certainly not unofficial behavior,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a briefing in Beijing Tuesday, adding that any countermeasures from Beijing would be “justified” in response to such “unscrupulous behavior.”
On Monday, Chinese warplanes moved close to the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait as Pelosi landed in Taiwan.
As of this writing, developing reports show troop movements in China’s Fuijan province closest to Taiwan, with military units amassing on the Xiamen Beaches. HQ-22 AA anti-aircraft missile systems have been spotted in the Zhejiang province just north of Taipei and at least five Y-20A were seen flying over Chengdu in the Sichuan province in the direction of Taiwan.
Taiwanese and Japanese media have reported that eight F-15 fighters and five tanker aircraft took off from Okinawa, only 385 nautical miles from Taiwan.
In recent years, Japan has become an unapologetic ally of Taiwan under the leadership of recently assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
After he stepped down, Abe issued a modest warning to China last year: “A Taiwan emergency is a Japanese emergency, and therefore an emergency for the Japan-U.S. alliance. People in Beijing, President Xi Jinping in particular, should never have a misunderstanding in recognizing this.”
After the Chinese Communist Party seized control of mainland China in 1949, the opposing Kuomintang Party, which was democracy-leaning, fled to Taiwan. China has always militantly maintained that Taiwan is Chinese territory as part of its “One China” policy, while Taiwan, officially known as the “Republic of China,” has demanded independence from the communist superpower.
The CCP views visits to Taiwan by American officials as support for the democratic, self-governing country. Pelosi is the highest-ranking American official to visit the island.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stated Monday, “We have said that we do not support Taiwan independence, and we have said that we expect cross-straight differences to be resolved by peaceful means.”