China announces military drill ahead of possible Pelosi visit to Taiwan

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China announces military exercise ahead of possible Pelosi visit to Taiwan

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on July 21, 2022, in Washington

China announced Saturday a “live ammunition” military exercise in the Taiwan Strait, a move ahead of a possible controversial visit by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. /p>

The maneuvers will however be limited in area and will take place in the immediate vicinity of the Chinese coast.

China considers that Taiwan, an island populated by #x27;about 23 million inhabitants, is one of its provinces, which it has not yet managed to reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the civil war Chinese (1949).

Opposed to any initiative giving the Taiwanese authorities international legitimacy, Beijing is against any official contact between Taiwan and other countries.

US officials visit the island frequently, but China deems a visit by Ms. Pelosi, one of the highest figures in the US state, would be a major provocation.

In this context, the Chinese authorities in charge of maritime security have announced that a military exercise will be organized on Saturday off the island of Pingtan, in the Chinese province of Fujian (east) located opposite Taiwan. .

Live ammunition firing will be carried out […] between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., and all entry [into these waters] will be prohibited, the statement said Thursday, but only leaked on Friday by Chinese media.

Pingtan is the territory controlled by the People's Republic of China that is closest to Taiwan: the area for Saturday's maneuvers is located approximately 120 kilometers from the Taiwanese coast.

Nancy Pelosi n& #x27;is not mentioned in the press release. But Beijing has been making threats for several days about the consequences of its displacement plan, if it goes through with it.

“Those who play with fire end up getting burned. »

— Chinese President Xi Jinping to his American counterpart Joe Biden

The Chinese president made the remarks on Thursday during a phone call with his American counterpart regarding the issue Taiwanese.

On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he hoped his country and China would manage to manage their differences over Taiwan wisely.

Washington has no diplomatic relations with Taipei and recognizes the communist regime in Beijing as the sole representative of China. But the United States sells weapons to the island and praises its democratic regime.

Ms. Pelosi's potential trip to Taiwan could come in the next few days.

General Mark Milley, the US Army Chief of Staff, told the press that if they asked for military support, he would do what was necessary to ensure a safe conduct of his visit.

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