China threatened on Tuesday to encircle Taiwan with its forces later this week for live-fire military exercises, in retaliation to The visit of United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-governing island that Beijing claims as its own.
The exercises, which will last from Thursday to Sunday according to state media Xinhua, will take place after Pelosi leaves the island. She landed on Tuesday for a whirlwind visit, including a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
“As the current leader of the U.S. Congress, regardless of Speaker Pelosi’s reasons for visiting Taiwan, this is an escalation of official U.S.-Taiwanese exchanges and a major political provocation,” he said. the Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement minutes after his plane touched down. at Songshan Airport in Taipei just before 11 p.m. local time.
Supporting Taiwan independence, the ministry added, “is a very dangerous act of playing with fire, and those who play with fire will get burned.”
In a statement, Pelosi, the first American speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years, said her visit “honours America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.”
His trip has heightened tensions around the Taiwan Strait, with growing concerns over whether the effective blockade of Taiwan by the Chinese military – a major exporter of microchips and other tech products – will turn into a threat to longer term amid Western preoccupation with the Ukraine crisis.