On May 26, 2022, in Beijing, a security guard is stationed close to a sculpture of the Chinese Communist Party flag. The sculpture is located in the Museum of the Communist Party of China. China said that it was engaging in military drills on Saturday off its coast in Taiwan’s direction. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan hide caption
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Ng Han Guan On May 26, 2022, in Beijing, a security guard is stationed close to a sculpture of the Chinese Communist Party flag. The sculpture is located in the Museum of the Communist Party of China. China said that it was engaging in military drills on Saturday off its coast in Taiwan’s direction.
Ng Han Guan / AP BEIJING After advising Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the U.S. House of Representatives to cancel any potential plans to visit the island democracy, which Beijing claims is part of its territory, China said it was conducting military drills off its coast opposite Taiwan on Saturday.
According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of the ruling Communist Party, was conducting “live-fire exercises” close to the Pingtan islands off the coast of Fujian province from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Ships were advised to steer clear of the region by the Maritime Safety Administration.
Typically, artillery is used in these exercises. Nothing in the one-sentence notification suggested that Saturday’s exercise would also involve missiles, fighter jets, or other weaponry.
Pelosi has not yet made her travel plans official, making her the highest-ranking American elected official to travel to Taiwan since 1997. In a phone discussion with Joe Biden on Thursday, President Xi Jinping cautioned him against “external intervention” in Beijing’s negotiations with the island.
China claims that Taiwan has no right to manage international affairs. Visits by American officials are seen as encouragement for the island to formally declare its long-standing de facto independence.
This week, the Ministry of Defense issued a warning to Washington not to permit Pelosi, who holds the same position as Biden as head of one of the three bodies of government, to travel to Taiwan. The PLA would take unnamed “serious measures,” according to a spokesman, to put an end to pro-independence agitation.
The PLA has increased its use of fighter and bomber aircraft near Taiwan and has shot missiles into shipping lanes to the island in the past.
After a civil war on the mainland that was won by the communists, Taiwan and China split apart in 1949.
While claiming to be one nation, the two governments argue about who should hold the position of national leadership. Although they don’t have any formal ties, they do engage in trade and investment worth billions of dollars.